Matsui Introduces Bill To Strengthen Flood Protection In Yolo Bypass

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced the Yolo Bypass System Improvement Act of 2020, legislation to establish a comprehensive approach for flood protection infrastructure in the Yolo Bypass, as well as a framework for nationwide Army Corps civil works programs. 

“Our region continues to face some of the most unique and severe flood challenges in the country,” said Congresswoman Matsui. “This means we have to be proactive and take a whole systems approach to reinforcing our flood protection infrastructure. I have long worked in collaboration with the Army Corps as well as state and local officials to make our flood protection some of the most innovative in the world, and applaud the work conducted by our local agency, the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA), for their fantastic work over the years. This bill will continue to add to the pedigree of forward-thinking measures that SAFCA has put forward again and again and ensures that the federal government is meeting them halfway. It is important to look at our challenges in the most holistic way possible and implementing this legislation will allow us to maximize the benefits for water-related projects in our region and beyond.”

“Congresswoman Matsui has once again shown the necessary leadership required to address Sacramento’s complex flood protection needs,” said Rick Johnson, Executive Director of SAFCA. “Due to its location at the confluence of two major rivers, the Sacramento and the American, it remains the most at-risk city for flooding in the country. This legislation provides a creative path forward in addressing regional water resources challenges and supports the enduring regional partnership of the US Army Corps of Engineers, the State of California and our local communities. It allows us to advance important, multi-benefit flood protection goals in conjunction with our neighbors in the critically important Yolo Bypass."

“We appreciate Congresswoman Matsui’s unwavering advocacy over the years for critical infrastructure and flood protection in our region,” said Bill Edgar, Central Valley Flood Protection Board President. “The partnership of state, local and federal agencies in our region is a collaborative approach to governance and results in better use of resources.  We commend SAFCA on their leadership in this effort. As we work toward reducing flood risk in an environment of climate change, we must be creative in our planning for public safety, and utilize the benefits that agriculture, ecosystem uplift, water conveyance and water use, and recreation bring to the people of California. When we collaborate as practitioners of these resources, the opportunity to implement innovative projects is realized.”

While a primary objective of the legislation is to achieve higher levels of flood risk reduction within the region while maximizing opportunity for ecosystem restoration, this bill would also work in tandem with other key water-related stakeholders in the region. This would include environmental enhancement, agricultural sustainability, improvements to water supplies, as well as water quality and recreational opportunities.

These objectives would be spearheaded by three main elements including:

  • A comprehensive study addressing obstacles to and opportunities for increased flood control and establish a baseline to facilitate future site-specific studies/projects.
  • Development of a master plan to serve as a roadmap for coordination of water-related projects and establish baselines for review.
  • Acknowledgement, endorsement and formalization of the Yolo Bypass–Cache Slough Partnership to provide a coordinated advisory policy framework.

Congresswoman Matsui has been a long-time champion of Northern California’s flood protection infrastructure and has played a pivotal role in securing critically important funds to fortify the Sacramento region and beyond. Congresswoman Matsui’s work has led to dozens of miles of levee improvements along the American and Sacramento Rivers, flood walls in urban South Sacramento, and the bolstering of the Folsom Dam. Over the years, she has worked tirelessly to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for flood-related needs in the region. This legislation adds another critically important piece to these previous steps.

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