Sunday, July 08, 2007

Farms & Flood Protection

Though the farmers will not see it as so, it is much better, on many levels, to flood farms rather than residential areas; however, it is even better yet, to do what needs to be done to raise our flood protection level to a 500 year level rather than the 100-200 year current level.

Matsui wants to use farms as flood buffer
Her plan hits opposition north of the capital over property-right concerns.
By David Whitney - Bee Washington Bureau
Published 12:00 am PDT Sunday, July 8, 2007

In her first major initiative since her election to the House in 2005, Rep. Doris Matsui is pressing controversial legislation to reduce the flood threat from the Sacramento River by expanding farmland conservation programs throughout the river's vast Northern California watershed.

"The best flood protection is more farming," the Sacramento Democrat said in an interview.

Matsui said that flood control improvements for the American River are now well under way, virtually on autopilot. The greater long-term threat to Sacramento, she said, now comes from its namesake river where storm runoff from its huge watershed is funneled through narrow levees straining to protect the city.

This will only worsen as the river's watershed, from Sacramento to Redding, faces increasing development pressure, she said.

"We have a pretty stable watershed now," she said. "Our flood system is based on existing land uses. But if those change, with a growing population, our flood system will be stressed."

Matsui has not yet introduced any legislation. Instead, she has been working behind the scenes on an amendment she hopes will become part of a massive farm subsidies bill later this month in the House.