A New Approach to Flood Protection

cmbp-04The Central Valley Flood Protection Plan (CVFPP) takes a new approach to flood protection. It requires State agencies to take advantage of both structural elements (like levees and bypasses) and nonstructural opportunities for minimizing flood risk.

Whenever possible, State and local agencies should aim to meet multiple objectives when designing flood protection. In addition to minimizing risks to human life, health and safety from flooding, State and local agencies should: aim to link the flood protection system with the water supply system; restore natural areas to benefit fish and wildlife while protecting working farms and ranches; and look for opportunities and incentives for expanding floodway corridors. These principles represent a new way of thinking about flood protection in California.

Multi-benefit projects improve flood protection and the environment by restoring floodplain and river system hydrology. Projects are specifically designed to improve flood safety and natural areas to benefit fish and wildlife, while in many cases providing additional public benefits including water quality improvements, enhanced public recreation opportunities, and/or groundwater recharge.

The Role of Regional Plans

The CVFPP calls on cities, counties, and regional public agencies to reconsider zoning and other land use planning designations to make sure that risks to human life and property are limited to the extent feasible while also creating additional benefits.

Examples of the types of opportunities available to regional flood protection planners include:

  • Bringing together stakeholders from a variety of perspectives to design a flood protection plan for the region.
  • How can your region protect agriculture while also improving natural areas to benefit native species?
  • What steps can be taken to reduce urban flood risk and also improve recreational opportunities?

Consider placing complementary projects near each other that can work together to meet multiple goals.

Multiple Benefit Projects

cmbp-03In the past, California has designed systems to move water and alter river systems to meet the needs of people and agriculture, and then to set aside specific areas to meet the needs of wildlife.

A multi-benefit approach fundamentally shifts this approach to water and flood protection, and instead looks for opportunities that can support fish and wildlife while also allowing working farms and ranches to continue to thrive while protecting drinking water and providing increased flood protection for cities and towns.