Local Legislator Tours
Assemblywoman Baker's Tour
Contra Costa County’s Flood Control District kicked off it’s “Local Legislator Tour” series on Friday, August 12, by escorting 16th District Assemblywoman Catharine Baker through two flood control facilities within her district.
Public Works’ Chief Engineer Julie Bueren and Flood Control Assistant Chief Engineer Mike Carlson tailored the tour to showcase two very different styles of flood protection, even though the two sites are within miles of each other. The San Ramon Concrete Bypass Channel is a more traditional concrete channel, while San Ramon Creek uses a softer, more environmentally sensitive channel style.
Assemblywoman Baker asked many questions along the way as Carlson discussed clean water, aging infrastructure, regulatory permit challenges, October’s Creek and Channel Safety Month, and the District’s increased outreach efforts.
Next up for tours are Assembly members Bonilla, Frazier, and Thurmond. With each successive tour, the Flood Control District moves closer towards finding solutions to its funding needs. We are excited at what our future holds!
Congressman Thompson's Tour
On Monday, August 8th Mike Carlson, Assistant Chief Engineer of Flood Control, and Paul Detjens, Senior Civil Engineer of Flood Control took three of United States Congressman’s Mike Thompson Field Representatives on a tour of Lower Walnut Creek. Two representatives, Meredith Sebring and Stephanie Newman, flew all the way from Congressman Mike Thompson’s Washington D.C. office for the tour. They were accompanied by Mel Orpilla from the Congressman Mike Thompson’s local Vallejo office. They toured Lower Walnut Creek Restoration Project site and the adjacent Pacheco Marsh, both located east of the Benicia Bridge.
The Flood Control District (District) was pleased to host Congressman Mike Thompson Field Staff, as he had such a vital role in sponsoring legislation to allow the District to take over local control for the Lower Walnut Creek Project. Congressman Mike Thompson spearheaded passing the bill in 2014 that deauthorized the area of Lower Walnut Creek and allow Flood Control to start on a community based planning process for the Restoration of Lower Walnut Creek. For more information about the project please click here: LWC Restoration Project.
The project will create hundreds of acres of tidal wetlands that will provide habitat for endangered species, including the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse and the Ridgeway Rail. The District will be working with East Bay Regional Park District and the Muir Heritage Land Trust through the planning process to provide public access to this unique restoration and flood protection project. District staff found the experience gratifying to teach Congressman Mike Thompson’s Representatives more about his area of legislation and his accomplishments. The District looks forward to the continued work with Congressman Mike Thompson and his staff on the Lower Walnut Creek Restoration Project.
Assemblywoman Bonilla's Tour
During the tour, Detjens discussed the various species seen at the project site including the California Clapper Rail, Salt Harvest Mouse, Short Eared Owl, White Tailed Kite, and the California Black Rail. The California Clapper Rail, California Black Rail, and Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse are listed as threatened or endangered due to the loss of critical marsh habitat. With the current plans, the Lower Walnut Creek Restoration Project will restore the marsh habitat vital to these threatened species. Additionally, the possibility of the 32 mile Iron Horse Trail being lengthened was examined. Currently, the Flood Control District and the East Bay Regional Park District are in talks of extending the Iron Horse Trail approximately 4 miles to pass through the Lower Walnut Creek Restoration Project site. Other topics discussed were the 50-year plan and Flood Control’s current funding issues for projects. Patrice found the tour informational and wishes to stay involved in the issues.
This tour is now available to the public! Limited spaces are available, so book today. If interested in a tour, please fill out the following form: Lower Walnut Creek Tour Reservation Form
Assemblymember Frazier's Tour
On Friday, September 30th Assemblymember Frazier joined the Flood Control District for a tour of Upper Sand Creek Basin and the Three Creeks Project. Julie Bueren, Chief Engineer of Flood Control District, and Mike Carlson, Deputy Chief Engineer of Flood Control District, led the tour. Also on the tour were Lara Delaney, Senior Deputy County Administrator, and Assemblymember Frazier’s Field Representatives Erica Rodriguez-Langley, and Chris Brieno. The tour began at Upper Sand Creek Basin off of Deer Valley Road in Antioch. Upper Sand Creek Basin was a $10 million project completed in 2014. The project was constructed as part of the Marsh Creek watershed flood protection plan to collect rain during a large storm and release it slowly downstream. This significantly reduces the flood risk for Antioch, Brentwood, and Oakley residents living downstream along Sand Creek and Marsh Creek. Attempting to leave the area as natural as possible, Flood Control’s own Associate Engineer, Carl Roner, propagated the native plants at the project site. Roner nurtured the plants behind the public works building until they were large enough to plant. In the spring of 2014, the Flood Control District held a large planting event where over a hundred volunteers came out and planted 150 of the native plants Roner grew. An interesting aspect of the project site, which caught Assemblymember Frazier’s attention on the tour, is the large trash capture device constructed at the inlet of the basin and is designed to prevent trash from traveling down our creeks and into the delta. The Flood Control District is working with the City of Antioch to build a sports park with soccer and ball fields on the upper tier of the project site, and will be used by the nearby schools, medical facilities, and residents. This is a great example of the cities and flood control working together for our residents.
The final stop of the tour was at the intersection of Deer Creek, Marsh Creek, and San Creek in Brentwood. The Three Creeks project intends to restore three acres of riparian and floodplain habitat. Assemblymember Frazier is commonly seen riding his bicycle down the Marsh Creek Trail and is passionate about providing trees and other vegetation to the area as well as creating a more environmentally friendly area. One of Assemblymember Frazier’s main concerns is nitrites in the soil and our water system. Other major pollutants of concern in our waterways are Polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs and mercury. Assemblymember Frazier maintains his passion for environmental issues and the Flood Control District is looking forward to working closely with him in the future.