Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Middle Creek levee removed from Army Corps list

Image
A channel of the Middle Creek levee, maintained by the county. Photo courtesy of Tom Smythe.

UPPER LAKE – The US Army Corps of Engineers has removed the Middle Creek levee from its list of levees around the nation that the agency said had not been properly maintained.

In late January, the Corps released a list of 122 levees across the U.S. that it said could fail to protect against flood events due to maintenance issues.

The 11-mile Middle Creek levee system near Upper Lake made that original list, much to the frustration of local officials, who said

Tom Smythe, water resources engineer with the Water Resource Division of Lake County's Public Works Department, said Middle Creek's low rating resulted from a Corps inspection conducted in 2005.

Smythe said the county's levees are inspected twice annually by the state Department of Water Resources, and that the county has remained in compliance with the state's maintenance standards over the past decade.

The Army Corps' low rating listed issues that Smythe said had already been addressed, such as trees and vegetation along the levees, and gravel bars that have been removed.

The Corps' list also incorrectly reported that the 3.5-mile stretch of levees in the Middle Creek Reclamation District is maintained by the Department of Water Resources was maintained by the county, Smythe said.

Since that January list was released, levee districts around the state began requesting reinspections.

On Feb. 14, the Army Corps and Department of Water Resources took another look at the Middle Creek levee system, said Smythe.

The inspection went well, he said.

“The inspectors saw that the system was being maintained and the deficiencies noted in the previous inspection were being addressed,” he said. “Attitudes were positive at the end of the inspection.”

An updated list of levees issued by the Corps on Feb. 16 shows that Middle Creek and seven other levees around the state were removed from the list.

However, the county didn't receive an official notification of that fact, said Smythe, only finding out about it unofficially earlier this month.

Dave Killam, a spokesman for the Sacramento Army Corps office, said those levees were removed from the list after being reinspected based on information provided by the levee owners.

Killam said a new list of poorly maintained levees will be released sometime this spring.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Image
An Army Corps of Engineer map that showed the levees originally listed as being poorly maintained.

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