A local push has convinced the federal government to at least consider arguments for building the remaining, proposed flood control projects to protect 2,000 parcels within the city of Napa.
Napa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District officials want to continue a partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Areas such Soscol Avenue’s Auto Row and the Napa Valley Exposition remain vulnerable to the worst a storm-swollen Napa River can muster.
Last week, the Flood Control District Board of Directors voted to give the Army Corps $105,000. The Army Corps is to use the money to analyze a 2014 Flood Control District study that outlines a downsized version of the remaining work.
The Army Corps review could be finished by year’s end, when the federal agency will decide if it is interested in pursuing some or all of the remaining projects, a district report said.
Flood Control District Board members smiled at this small victory. But they also realized work remains to be done to finish off the Napa River flood control project within the city of Napa as envisioned under Measure A in 1998.
“No Champagne,” county Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht said.
“Not yet,” Napa Mayor Jill Techel said.
Napa County launched its flood control project in 1998 when residents passed Measure A raising the local sales tax by a half-cent for the local contribution. The county and federal government have shared in the flood control costs.
The goal is to provide protection from a 100-year flood, which has a 1-in-100 chance of happening in any given year. No such flood has taken place in recent decades on the Napa River. The devastating 1986 storms brought a 50-year flood, the district website said.
Completed projects in the city of Napa include creating flood terraces, raising bridges, restoring wetlands, doing work along Napa Creek and building flood walls.
But the Army Corps of Engineers decided its flood control work was finished with the creation of the $18.5 million bypass between Veterans Memorial Park and the Oxbow district in 2015. The Corps said the remaining projects aren’t justified under federal cost/benefit ratio rules.
Remaining projects include building:
— A mile of flood walls along the west riverbank north and south of Lincoln Avenue.
— A half-mile of flood walls in the Oxbow district.
— A mile-long flood wall along Riverside Drive from the Hatt building south to Imola Avenue.
— A half-mile flood wall along Soscol Avenue in the Auto Row area.
In addition, a pump station is to be built at the recently completed bypass.
The Flood Control District’s 2014 study whittled the cost for the remaining flood control projects by $103 million, to a total of $77 million. Since then, it has tried to convince the Army Corps to analyze the study.
Bernhard Krevet of Friends of the Napa River expressed optimism that the Army Corps will ultimately decide to build the remaining city of Napa flood control pieces. That will give the Corps the continued chance to boast about a great project, he said.