The Lower Walnut Creek Restoration Project is part of the strategic planning efforts of the Flood Control District.
The Flood Control District is charged with providing regional flood protection to the residents of Contra Costa County. Over the years, the Flood Control District's mission has evolved and expanded to include stewardship of the environmental resources in district owned creeks. For more information on the Flood Control District, visit the Flood Control District's page.
In 2005, the Flood Control District adopted an Expenditure Policy (PDF) which provides overall direction in developing and implementing the District's budget and capital improvement plan. These decisions are based on the following order of priorities:
Public Safety, and
The Lower Walnut Creek Restoration Project falls firmly in the first and highest priority category, System Preservation. In its current state, Lower Walnut Creek has lost a portion of its original flood carrying capacity. When the Corps constructed the facility in the mid 1960's, it almost immediately began filling with sediment. It was dredged and desilted periodically over the years, but with better understanding of the effects dredging has in habitat in the creek, it is clear to the District that dredging is not a sustainable practice. Yet the Flood Control District needs to maintain the design level of flood protection for the channel (both by mandate of the Corps Operations branch and also under the system preservation priority of the District's expenditure policy). If dredging and removal of habitat is not an option, what is the path forward? The original Lower Walnut Creek Restoration project – in collaboration with the Corps – intended to find and implement the best and most sustainable future for Lower Walnut Creek.
Once Corps funding dried up, however, the District worked with Congress to "selectively deauthorize" the lowest four miles of Pacheco and Walnut Creeks and the locally-sponsored new Lower Walnut Creek Restoration Project could proceed. The project is now getting ready for construction.