HWM Pilot Summary: Cities of Sacramento and Roseville, CA

This page highlights the Sacramento and Roseville, CA High Water Mark Pilot Project which took place on November 8, 2013. See more High Water Mark case studies.

The cities of Sacramento and Roseville, CA, have gone above and beyond most communities to both educate and be proactive about flood risks. Both communities are part of the Community Rating System (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.

The City of Sacramento has an extensive flood history dating back to the 1800s. In more recent history, record floods have been documented 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 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.

The City of Roseville has been proactive about flood preparedness. The city 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. The City of Roseville is a strong example of community that is taking proactive steps against future flooding. The city has taken action to establish high standards for floodplain protection including adopting strict building codes.

On November 8, 2013, Sacramento and Roseville, CA, held a joint High Water Mark (HWM) Launch Event at Garcia Bend Park. The event was held during California’s Flood Preparedness Week and was the hallmark of week-long activities promoting flood risk awareness and mitigation.

Launch Event Activities

Friday, November 8, 2013, marked the kick-off of the HWM Initiative in Garcia Bend Park in Sacramento, California. The purpose of the event was to educate the community on flood risk and mitigation. Event activities included the following:

  • Darrell Fong (City of Sacramento Council Member) welcomed the audience.
  • Nancy Ward (FEMA Region IX Regional Administrator) spoke on the importance of the HWM Initiative, provided an overview of national programs, and thanked the participation of Federal partners.
  • COL Mike Farrell (Commander of the USACE Sacramento District) spoke on importance of the HWM Initiative to USACE and the role of awareness campaigns to flood risk reduction.
  • Keith Swanson (California Department of Water Resources [DWR]) spoke on the importance of state participation and the state’s perspective on the HWM Initiative.
  • Bill Edgar (Board President of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board [CVFPB]) gave a resident’s perspective on living in The Pocket (the local neighborhood) and CVFPB interaction with local, state, and Federal partners.
  • Carol Garcia (Vice Mayor of the City of Roseville) spoke about Roseville’s efforts in raising awareness about flood mitigation, including their participation in the CRS program and their future plans for flood risk reduction.
  • Darrell Fong (City of Sacramento Council Member) spoke about the HWM Initiative’s importance to the City of Sacramento and ended the event by unveiling the HWM sign.

The City of Roseville posted four HWM signs in the city including areas near Columbia Avenue, Riverside Avenue, Tina Way, and Champion Oaks. The City of Sacramento posted seven signs in areas surrounding the city including Garcia Bend Park, Sacramento City Hall, Sacramento State University, and local Sacramento fire stations.

Pilot Participants

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

State: Keith Swanson (Division of Flood Management Chief, DWR), Bill Edgar (President, CVFPB), and Tambour Eller (USACE Sacramento District Deputy for Programs and Project Management)

Federal: Doris Matsui (Congresswoman, D-CA), Nancy Ward (FEMA Region IX), Col. Mike Farrell (USACE), NOAA, NPS, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, HUD, USGS, and SBA.

Resulting Media Coverage

The HWM Launch Event drew significant media coverage by local news channels and newspapers. For clips from the event visit

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