The Governor of the State of California issued Executive Order S-02-07 requiring all agencies to be accountable for ensuring that bond proceeds are spent efficiently, effectively and in the best interests of the people of the State of California. To implement this accountability, each department needed to establish and document a three-part accountability structure for bond expenditures that includes Front-end Accountability, In-Progress Accountability, and Follow-up Accountability. The Department of Water Resources’ Flood Maintenance Office developed the following guidelines for the Channel Maintenance Program which utilizes bond funds with the purpose of increasing transparency and accountability with Executive Order S-02-07.
1. Front-End Accountability
A Strategic Implementation Plan is in development for the Flood Maintenance Office that ties the goals of the programs to the mission of the department, the objectives of FloodSAFE, and the statutory obligations of DWR for maintenance of elements of the flood control system. The Strategic Implementation Plan, currently in the final draft stage, defines the Flood Maintenance Office’s purpose, goals, objectives, program elements, program components, strategies, priorities, and overall schedule and budget. It also describes detailed activities and measurable objectives under each of the composite program elements, and provides strategic program direction for the Flood Maintenance Office. Projects selected for bond funding (as well as those receiving General Funds) are to be consistent with the Flood Maintenance Office’s Strategic Implementation Plan.
The Flood Maintenance Office maintains portions of the Sacramento River Flood Control Project (Project) to fulfill the assurances provided to the federal government by the State that the Project, which the federal government constructed and turned over to the State for operation and maintenance, will be adequately maintained. A Memorandum of Understanding was executed in November 1953 between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the State of California that describes the State’s responsibility for maintaining the Project features.
The authority for DWR to maintain the Project is included in Sections 8361 and 12648 of the California Water Code. Project features covered in the authority include river channels, hydraulic control structures, designated levees, and ancillary structures. (Levees not designated as State responsibility are maintained by local maintaining agencies.) Bond 84 Chapter 3, Section 75032(d) provides for the use of bond funds for environmental mitigation and infrastructure costs related to projects that improves the Department’s emergency response capability.
Maintenance standards that the federal government obligates the State to adhere to for channels, levees and other Project features are described in operation and maintenance manuals that the Corps of Engineers prepares for each unit of the Project before they turn the completed Project feature over to the State for operation and maintenance. Additional maintenance and or inspection standards for levees that the State maintains are found in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 33 Section 208.10 Levees, Channels, Floodways and Associated Structures; Corps of Engineers Levee Owner’s Manual for Non-Federal Flood Control Works, March 2006; and Department of Water Resources Vegetation Criteria for Standard Levees, October 2007. Channel and levee maintenance standards generally require that channels be cleared of vegetation, debris and sediments so that design flood flows can be conveyed by channels; vegetation be controlled on levees to allow visual inspection of levee integrity and flood fighting; and vegetation be controlled at the landside toe of levees to allow inspection for seepage. All maintenance projects must meet these standards in order to be eligible for Bond funding and federal rehabilitation assistance (PL84-99).
Initially, projects undertaken by the Flood Maintenance Office are based on a backlog of deferred maintenance. In addition to continuing to work on deferred maintenance, new projects are identified through a number of inspection programs. These include inspection programs for levees, channels, bridges, hydraulic structures, and utilities. Inspections are conducted to comply with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Code of Federal Regulations (33 CFR 208.10) and the National Levee Safety Program.
In addition to complying with maintenance guidelines and manuals developed by the Corps of Engineers, projects undertaken by the Flood Maintenance Office must comply with various permits and agreements from agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Section 404 Clean Water Act and Section 10 Rivers and Harbors Act), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Endangered Species Act), California Department of Fish and Game (1600 Streambed Alternation Agreement and Endangered Species Act), Central Valley Flood Protection Board (Encroachment Permit), Water Resources Control Board (401 Clean Water Act), Regional Water Quality Control Board (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permit and Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements), State Historic Preservation Officer (Archeological Resource and National Historic Preservation Acts), Native American Heritage Commission, State Lands Commission, and must also comply with the California Environmental Quality Act.
Routine maintenance of levees, channels and hydraulic control structures are performed by crews from the Sacramento and Sutter Maintenance Yards and is funded by baseline allocations from the General Fund. However, some maintenance activities are beyond the technical capabilities of the Maintenance Yards or require more resources than they can provide. These non-routine maintenance activities are funded primarily by Proposition 1E funds. As indicated, Proposition 84 funding was used for costs associated with environmental mitigation and infrastructure costs related to projects that improves the Department’s emergency response capability. In the past, AB 142 funds and Proposition 50 funds were also used for the non-routine maintenance activities. Examples of non-routine maintenance include large sediment removal projects and environmental restoration projects that fulfill mitigation requirements for non-routine maintenance projects.
Due to reductions in General Funds allocated for Project maintenance during the 1990s and early 2000s, a backlog of deferred maintenance projects was created. The Flood Maintenance Office received a significant increase in baseline General Funds in FY 2006 that provided the resources for new equipment, chemical pesticides, fuel and lubricants, contracts with other State agencies for additional field crews, and new Maintenance Yard field crew positions to significantly expand yearly maintenance activities. General Fund allocations are also used to initiate the planning, design, and permitting for some of the backlogged maintenance projects. In FY 2007, AB 142 funds also became available to help fund these backlogged projects. After passage of Propositions 1E and 84, these funds have been used for non-routine projects.