News worth noting: Army Corps makes progress on Sacramento levees, Wildlife Conservation Board awards grants, and coastal wetlands loss on the rise

news worth notingArmy Corps make progress on Sacramento levees:  Sacramento’s one of the most at-risk cities for catastrophic flooding with an aging flood control system in need of modernization. The Sacramento District of the Army Corps takes a look back on what they have accomplished in upgrading and modernizing the city’s levee system, as well as what they are looking to accomplish next year: “This year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District continued to make progress strengthening those links by fixing gaps in seepage cutoff walls in the lower American River’s levees. The Corps built more than 20 miles of seepage cutoff walls into American River levees a decade ago, but work was set aside for later—leaving gaps—where complicated encroachments exist such as utilities, power lines and bridges. Only a handful of these complex gap sites remain, with final construction slated to wrap up in 2016.  By the close of 2013, the district will have completed three more construction projects this season under its American River Common Features program, a joint effort between the Corps, the state’s Central Valley Flood Protection Board and the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency to reduce flood risk for Sacramento. … ”  Read more from the Army Corps here:  Sacramento levee fixes: A year of progress

Wildlife Conservation Board awards $14.4 million in grants:  “At its Nov. 21 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $14.4 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California. Some of the 14 funded projects will provide benefits to fish and wildlife – including some endangered species – while others will provide the public with access to important natural resources. Several projects will also demonstrate the importance of protecting working landscapes that integrate economic, social and environmental stewardship practices beneficial to the environment, land owners and the local community. The funds for all these projects come from bond initiatives approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources … ”  Read more from the Department of Fish and Wildlife here:  Wildlife Conservation Board funds environmental improvement and acquisition projects

Coastal wetland loss on the rise:  “The United States is losing wetlands in coastal watersheds at a significant rate, according to a new report released today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). These wetlands are vital to the survival of diverse fish and wildlife species. Wetlands also help sustain the country’s multi-billion-dollar coastal fisheries and outdoor recreation industries, improve water quality and protect coastal communities from the effects of severe storms.   The report, Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Coastal Watersheds of the Conterminous United States 2004 to 2009, which was also funded in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, tracked wetland loss on the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf coasts, as well as the Great Lakes shorelines. It concludes that more than 80,000 acres of coastal wetlands are being lost on average each year, up from 60,000 acres lost per year during the previous study. … ”  Read more from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service here:  New Report Reveals Continuing Coastal Wetlands Losses in U.S.

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