Below you will find a thorough explanation from Delta Engineer Bill Darsie regarding a significant cut to the Delta Levee Subvention Program. It is crucial that Delta residents contact the Delta Stewardship Council to let them know that the Delta Levee Subvention Program needs to be fully funded and to correct this omission in the next draft of the Delta Plan. The Council needs to hear from you by Monday, July 18, 2011.
We are hoping that this action was a simple oversight made by staff for the Delta Stewardship Council. Whether or not change is proposed for the Delta, maintenance of levees is essential to protect human life, water quality, and our regional economy. Delta levees with regular maintenance provide public safety, environmental protection, and the infrastructure to support our regional economy worth nearly $5 billion annually. It would be inexcusable for the the Delta Stewardship Council to make a deliberate cut to funding for such a basic public safety program for the Delta.
Please take ten minutes to act on this request. While Bill sent his alert to reclamation districts, all Delta area residents, both rural and urban, should act as we all need to be safe, and we are all tied to the economic and environmental health of the Delta.
Restore the Delta
The current Delta Levees (Subventions) program is due to expire on July 1, 2013. The current cost-share of 75% State-25% Local, with approximately $15 million dollars in funding per year. Upon expiration of the current program, the cost share will be reduced to 50% and will only have $2 million in funding. In other words, the Program will essentially cease to exist.
The expectation was that the Delta Plan adopted by the Delta Stewardship Council would give direction to the Legislature on the future of this program. Unfortunately, the current draft of the DSC Delta Plan fails to include any recommendation for the Legislature to remove this sunset clause and extend the program. The State Legislature is unlikely to extend or eliminate the 2013 expiration without the recommendation of the Delta Stewardship Council in the Delta Plan.
In order for the Legislature to consider approving another legislative bill to extend the current program’s 75%-25% cost-share and funding levels beyond 2013, it is critical that the DSC receive as many letters as possible from reclamation districts.
Following is a link to the DSC’s website location for making public comments on the Delta Plan: http://deltacouncil.ca.gov/submit-comments.
Please fill in the information regarding your commenting agency and copy or paste the following text into the ‘PLEASE WRITE COMMENT BELOW’ box provided.:
The current Delta Subventions Program, Water Code Section 12986, is due to sunset on July 1, 2013 and revert to a less effective program, which will considerably reduce the ability of Delta reclamation districts to reduce the risk to people, property, and state interests in the Delta as desired in Chapter 7 of the Delta Plan. It is critical that the success of the current subventions program continue beyond 2013, particularly since there is bond money in Propositions 1E and 84 still to be allocated to fund the State’s reimbursement of their cost share to the local agency once the maintenance of levee improvement work is complete.
Over the last 23-years, the Delta Levee Maintenance Program, CWC Section 12980 et seq., has not only increased the level of protection to the islands, but it has enabled the levees to be above the 100-year floodplain and qualify reclamation districts for FEMA disaster assistance. The recent work under the existing cost-share of the Delta Levees Subventions Program has positioned the levees to reach the next level of PL 84-99 criteria, at a manageable cost. Continuation of the current long-term maintenance program will also enable reclamation districts to keep up with sea level rise, protect the conveyance of water to 24 million Californians, and protect valuable habitat. It is critically important to continue maintaining Delta levees until such time as the various Delta planning processes result in actual projects that will provide the necessary protection of the Statewide interests currently being protected by the existing program.
Therefore, we request the Delta Stewardship Council add an action item to the Delta Plan in Chapter 7, recommending the State Legislature approve legislation to eliminate the sunset date on the existing Delta Levees Program, since it has proven itself to be a successful and cost-effective program over the last 23 years.
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.