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  1. #1
    Captain One Lung SuperModerator
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    Why Floodplains Could Be California’s Buffer Against Climate Extremes

    A timely article and one more people should be aware of when it comes time to support future bonds, measures, projects, organizations etc.

    Feb. 24, 2017 – Groundwater recharge, flood protection and wildlife habitat all depend on floodplains. Now there’s a new movement underway in California to revive them in order to ease California’s dramatic swings between drought and flood.In just a few short weeks, Californians have been reminded that drought has an evil twin: flooding.
    Droughts in the Golden State often end with floods, as seems to be happening this winter. But the state’s political and economic fortunes always seem to swing between the two, leaving precious little opportunity to explore the terrain where they intersect.
    One place that happens is on floodplains. When rivers swell, floodplains absorb the excess flow, protecting cities built along rivers, recharging groundwater and providing vital aquatic habitat – all at the same time. When drought swings back, we can pump out the groundwater to serve farms and neighborhoods.
    There are precious few floodplains left in California. Development long ago eliminated all but about 5 percent of the state’s original floodplain wetlands, aided by levee building that forced rivers into narrow channels between fragile levees.
    Now a new effort is building to reunite rivers with their floodplains, a movement that could take the sting out of both drought and flooding.


    https://yubanet.com/california/why-f...mate-extremes/

    I'm working on a 38 acre floodplain re-connection/restoration project in Lincoln which connects to a 20 acre restored project we did 8yrs ago. The flooding this year has been pretty epic and the amount of sediment deposition in our newly re-connected floodplain is nothing short of amazing. Nature works. Who knew? lol

  2. #2
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    I presume that the only floodplain available for re-connection is the 5% that doesn't have houses, roads, factories, or schools built on it.

    Groundwater recharge does seem like the thing we have to figure out, pronto.
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    Makes sense. They flood Central Valley rice fields in the winter now instead of burning them. That has created about 500,000 acres of wetlands and, I assume, has helped mitigate flood problems. And I just saw a video of a park in the Santa Cruz Mountains where they have "freed" an entrenched creek to restore the floodplain.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCWages View Post
    A timely article and one more people should be aware of when it comes time to support future bonds, measures, projects, organizations etc.





    https://yubanet.com/california/why-f...mate-extremes/

    I'm working on a 38 acre floodplain re-connection/restoration project in Lincoln which connects to a 20 acre restored project we did 8yrs ago. The flooding this year has been pretty epic and the amount of sediment deposition in our newly re-connected floodplain is nothing short of amazing. Nature works. Who knew? lol
    Nature does work, but people see a dry flat spot and build on it. Then, 10 yrs later when it floods, they cry and need someone to bail them out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EddyKilowatt View Post
    I presume that the only floodplain available for re-connection is the 5% that doesn't have houses, roads, factories, or schools built on it.
    There is a lot of available land that ca be connected that doesn't have buildings on it. AG lands as mentioned above are another potential source of flood mitigation but can be more problematic in some cases.

    While the majority of the lost land is essentially forever lost, even small projects can mean a lot of a family that is negatively impacted by flooding.

  6. #6
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    Not directly related, but I just listened to a Climate First podcast called "Killing the Colorado ". Good discussion on how we are overtaxing the Colorado river, mostly to grow alfalfa in the desert (imperial valley) .

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    ^^ Pretty amazing that only 1/10 of the river's flow reaches Mexico, and it rarely reaches the Gulf of California.
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    Glad to see more of this kind of stuff getting attention in the media. I've given up trying to counter the endless "it's raining therefore the drought is over/build more dams" mantra. We live at the mercy of the hydrologic cycle here in California, and the levees (and concrete/asphalt) have essentially cut out big chunks of a piece of it due to the loss of groundwater infiltration. I would think some ag interests see setting back levees as a good thing as that land probably gets some pretty decent protection from development for like, forever, at that point. The perhaps rare occasions where it gets flooded should make up for that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCWages View Post
    A timely article and one more people should be aware of when it comes time to support future bonds, measures, projects, organizations etc...
    Nice. I still want educating on how the potential for recharging aquifers can translate into alleviating the ground level sinking through the Central and Southern California Valleys. All those wells that were created, all the water drawn out, then the soil level dropping. Does that mean the aquifers are potentially lost or as water creeps back in will it all "float" back to the past levels?

    Yes, I'm being serious here since I have no resource to tap for the knowledge.

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    Obi
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    Quote Originally Posted by BStrummin View Post
    ..We live at the mercy of the hydrologic cycle here in California, and the levees (and concrete/asphalt) have essentially cut out big chunks of a piece of it due to the loss of groundwater infiltration...
    I'm personally still waiting to see localities (or even the Army Corp of Engineers) get off their butts and seriously start properly inspecting our levees and flood canal walls. Hell I'd be surprised to see the nighttime use of FLIR over here in Alameda County since I know how high the creeks got this time around. Just wait, just wait, there's already cracks and seeps developed into the dirt retainings(sp?), The Little Dutch Boy won't be here to save us.

  11. #11
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    Sort of related; there was a news piece yesterday about the Santa Clara Water District not allowing water from the reservoirs (overflowing) to be diverted into their percolation pond system because it's "too dirty". That makes some sense as filling an aquifer up with silt would kill it forever.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EddyKilowatt View Post
    I presume that the only floodplain available for re-connection is the 5% that doesn't have houses, roads, factories, or schools built on it.

    Groundwater recharge does seem like the thing we have to figure out, pronto.
    Actually, the roads can be flood plains, if they allow the shoulders to percolate water rather than put the water into drains and flush to sewage treatment plants.

    But I think the main area people have in mind is the central valley, where the majority of the possible flood plains are now farms. Not as hard to reconvert them to flood plains than it would be to convert a factory or condo.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obi View Post
    I'm personally still waiting to see localities (or even the Army Corp of Engineers) get off their butts and seriously start properly inspecting our levees and flood canal walls.
    I don't know about the Bay Area but I have friends who have been working on ACOE projects for years associated with the levee assessment project in the valley. I've heard some scary stories about what they found - tens of feet of fine sand in the middle of some levees for example. But I am also friends with an engineer who designed a cutoff wall that was installed in a levee in Sacramento because of something similar. So there's work being done but it flies under most peoples radar I think. And lots of it was kicked into gear after Katrina.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moe Ped View Post
    Sort of related; there was a news piece yesterday about the Santa Clara Water District not allowing water from the reservoirs (overflowing) to be diverted into their percolation pond system because it's "too dirty". That makes some sense as filling an aquifer up with silt would kill it forever.
    The aquifer wouldn't fill up with dirt. An aquifer is just dirt with pore space capable of retaining water. Any suspended solids in the percolation ponds would be deposited on the pond bottom as the water percolates into the aquifer. I imagine the issue is that the percolation ponds might silt up and lose their holding capacity. Same way the reservoir behind a dam can silt up and lose volume.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BStrummin View Post
    I don't know about the Bay Area but I have friends who have been working on ACOE projects for years associated with the levee assessment project in the valley. I've heard some scary stories about what they found - tens of feet of fine sand in the middle of some levees for example. But I am also friends with an engineer who designed a cutoff wall that was installed in a levee in Sacramento because of something similar. So there's work being done but it flies under most peoples radar I think. And lots of it was kicked into gear after Katrina.
    they installed those W shaped beams in the middle of the Alameda creek levee some years ago. I assume that it is to stop animals from burrowing through the levee and undermining it.

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    I'm on it today!

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