The Flood Projects Office’s USACE Studies Program goals tie to the mission of the Department of Water Resources (Department), Flood Projects Office, the objectives of the State Systemwide Investment Approach (SSIA) as outlined in the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan (CVFPP) and statutory obligations for improvements of elements of the flood control system. The purpose, goals, objectives, program elements, program components, strategies, priorities, and overall schedule and budget have been incorporated. Studies selected for bond funding enter into cost share agreements among the State represented by the Central Valley Flood Protection Board (Board), the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and local sponsor(s). These cost share agreements are brought before the Board in a public meeting for approval to help ensure the studies will strive to meet the objectives of SSIA. The State is typically considered the non-federal partner.
The Flood Projects Office administers the USACE Studies Program which was historically funded by General Fund appropriations. Subsequent to the passage of the Disaster Preparedness and Flood Prevention Bond Act of 2006 (Proposition 1E) and the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006 (Proposition 84), the program receives appropriations from these funds. In conjunction with the California Water Code, these Propositions authorized the State acting by and through the Board to partner with the USACE and local sponsor(s) where applicable and fund a share of studies such as Feasibility Studies, General Reevaluation Reports (GRR), and Limited Reevaluation Reports (LRR). These funds will be used for the production of studies that will recommend projects that will: (a) repair, rehabilitation, reconstruction or replacement of levees, weirs, bypasses and facilities of the State Plan of Flood Control and (b) improving or adding facilities to the State Plan of Flood Control to increase levels of flood protection for urban areas and at the same time provide ecosystem restoration, and recreational opportunities. This program applies only to the Central Valley and certain adjacent areas. An estimated $3,000,000,000 has been made available for projects under this program.
Projects recommended for design and construction by these studies are intended to provide flood protection to at least the 200-year Level of Protection for defined urban areas per Senate Bill 5. The USACE plays the primary role of reconnaissance, planning and selection of alternatives under National Economic Development (NED) procedures, and with design and construction of the projects recommended by the studies. The USACE Studies Program helps to ensure the States needs are met during the planning and selection of the alternatives.
The Flood Projects Office provides for sustainable integrated flood management and an emergency response system throughout California that improves public safety, protects and enhances environmental and cultural resources, and supports economic growth by reducing the probability of destructive floods, promoting beneficial floodplain processes, and lowering the damages caused by flooding in partnership with the USACE. Studies undertaken by the USACE, in partnership with the State and local sponsor(s), are selected by the USACE to develop recommend projects to reduce damage caused by flooding, make funds available to Local Agencies for, among other things, flood protection work. These funds will be used for: (a) repair, rehabilitation, reconstruction or replacement of levees, weirs, bypasses and facilities of the State Plan of Flood Control and (b) improving or adding facilities to the State Plan of Flood Control to increase levels of flood protection.
Through a reconnaissance study (section 905(b) process) projects are evaluated by the USACE to determine if there is federal interest based on positive net benefits or a positive benefit-to-cost ratio based on the NED benefits derived from improvements that is part of the USACE Principles and Guidelines system of accounts. A representative from the State participates in regular team meetings at the USACE offices during the feasibility phase and eventually the planning, design, and construction phases of the study and resulting project(s) to ensure the interest of the State and the local sponsor(s) are considered.
Primarily technical review is carried out by the USACE. The State coordinates with various divisions within the Department to ensure feasibility studies are aware of the data and models developed by the Department. The data and models were developed to build a standardized base for the use of the USACE and local sponsors to develop hydrologic and hydrology studies to determine flood risk. The Department’s technical team is able to assess the proposed methods used by the USACE and local sponsor for completeness and adherence to state regulation.
The State’s commitment to fund the project will occur through various cost sharing agreements (agreement) with the USACE in conjunction with associated sub-agreements with the local sponsor(s).
Compliance and Reporting
Agreements that are entered into by the State, through the Board, and among the USACE and local sponsor(s) include provisions that cost share partners must adhere to required accounting and reporting measures. Quality control to assure the contract documents are being adhered to is performed by the USACE and outside contractors during the feasibility and design phases. Quality Control during the construction phase is performed by inspectors within USACE and the Department of Water Resources as well as hired consultants.
The Department has organized a Bond Accountability Office to document policies and procedures for bond accountability.