Launch Case Study: Cities of Sacramento and Roseville, CA High Water Mark Initiative

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On November 8, 2013, the Cities of Sacramento and Roseville, CA held a joint High Water Mark launch  event at Garcia Bend Park.  The event was held during California’s Flood Preparedness Week and marked the end of a great week promoting public awareness and education focused on the importance of flood mitigation for at-risk communities.

Daryl Fong, Sacramento City Council, speaks while Doris Matsui (Congresswoman – D-CA06) Nancy Ward (FEMA Region IX) applaud.

Pilot Participants

Cities of Sacramento & Roseville: Darrell Fong (Sacramento City Council); Carol Garcia (Vice Mayor, City of Roseville).

State: Keith Swanson (Division of Flood Management Chief, Department of Water Resources); Bill Edgar (President, Central Valley Flood Protection Board); Tambour Eller (USACE Sacramento District Deputy for Programs and Project Management)

Federal: Doris Matsui (Congresswoman – D-CA06) Nancy Ward (FEMA Region IX); National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; National Park Service; Col. Mike Farrell (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers); U.S. Department of Agriculture; Natural Resource Conservation Service; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; U.S. Geological Survey; U.S. Small Business Administration.

Regional Flood Risk

The cities of Sacramento and Roseville have gone above and beyond most communities to both educate and be proactive about flood risks. In fact both communities are part of the Community Rating System or CRS program. The City of Roseville, in fact, is the highest rated CRS Community in the nation! They are the only community in the country to reach a CRS level of 1.

 Bill Edgar (President, Central Valley Flood Protection Board); Darrell Fong (Sacramento City Council); Keith Swanson (Division of Flood Management Chief, Department of Water Resources); Doris Matsui (Congresswoman – D-CA06); Nancy Ward (FEMA Region IX); Tambour Eller (USACE Sacramento District Deputy for Programs and Project Management); and Carol Garcia (Vice Mayor, City of Roseville)

The City of Sacramento, for example, has an extensive flood history dating back to the 1800s. In more recent history, record floods have been recorded in 1951, 1956, 1964 and 1986.   The Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency was created in October of 1989 and immediately began holding public meetings and began lobbying to provide risk-reduction measures and procedures for the Sacramento area.  Since then, the city itself has proactively worked to educate the public about flood risk measures that protect life and property.

Further, the City of Roseville has been proactive about flood preparedness  has a Flood Warning System that utilizes stream and rain gauges in numerous places throughout their drainage basins to monitor flood threats as they develop and serves as an example of a city that is being proactive against the possibility of future flooding. The city has been very actionable in that it has high standards for flood plain protection and has adopted strict building codes.

Launch Event Activities

Friday, November 8, 2013 marked the kick-off of the High Water Mark Campaign in Garcia Bend Park in Sacramento, California with the purpose to educate the community on flood risk and mitigation actions. The launch event was a joint effort between the Cities of Roseville and Sacramento.  Event activities included:National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration staff give presentations to local elementary school children

  • Welcome by Councilmember Darrell Fong (City of Sacramento)
  • Nancy Ward (FEMA Region 9) spoke on the High Water Mark Initiative, FEMA’s program development, participating federal agencies, and national program highlights
  • COL Mike Farrell (USACE Sacramento District) spoke on importance of the HWM Initiative to USACE and of flood risk reduction through increased awareness.
  • Keith Swanson (DWR) spoke on the importance of State participation and the State’s perspective on the HWM program.
  • Bill Edgar (CVFPB) gave a resident’s perspective on living in The Pocket (the local neighborhood), and CVFPB interaction with local, state, federal partners.
  • Vice Mayor Carol Garcia spoke about Roseville’s efforts in raising awareness about flood mitigation, including participating in the Community Rating System (CRS), and future plans for flood risk reduction in Roseville, CA.
  • Sacramento City Councilmember Darrell Fong finished the event by speaking about the HWM initiative’s importance to the City of Sacramento, and future plans in Sacramento, and ended by unveiling the HWM sign.

High Water Mark Post Locations

The High Water Mark Initiative posted four signs in the City of Roseville and seven signs in the City of Sacramento.

Sacramento High Water Mark Post locations: Garcia Bend Park, Sacramento City Hall, Sacramento State University and four signs were placed at Sacramento Fire Stations.

Roseville High Water Mark Post locations: Columbia Avenue, Riverside Avenue, Tina Way and Champion Oaks.

Event Coverage

California Department of Water Resources: Press ReleaseEvent organizers, (left to right) Olivia Humilde of Region 9, provided support to team lead, Judy Soutiere, of the United States Army Corps stand in front of the High Water Mark at Garcia Park.

Delta Training Exercise Marks Flood Preparedness Week – Sacramento Bee

Fox 40: High Water Signs Used for Flood Awareness:  Video, Article

High Water Mark Kick-Off –

High Water Mark Kick-Off –

High Water Marks, life jackets, and other “innovations” as California leads in flood preparedness – The Water Away (Blog)

Darrell’s Notes – November – Valley Community Newspapers

Garcia Bend Park High Water Mark – See the Sacramento River (Blog)

USACE You Tube Channel Video

California Department of Water Resources Photos


Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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