Executive Order Signed to Prepare for Next Wet Season in California

WHAT TO KNOW: Governor Newsom signed an executive order to streamline levee repairs and debris removal to help local communities recover from flooding and prepare for the next wet season. This is the latest in a series of actions to protect communities and conserve water from record rain and snowfall.

SACRAMENTO – In anticipation of another possible wet season with record rain and snowfall, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order on August 4, 2023 that will expedite critical work like levee repairs and debris removal to help protect and prepare communities.

This year’s historic winter storms damaged levees and left debris in river channels that exacerbate the risk of flooding next winter. The executive order will allow affected communities to accelerate work to restore levee function and river channel capacity degraded by last winter’s storms and floods. More specifically, the executive order:

  • Streamlines public agencies’ emergency levee repair and debris removal work to address this past winter’s storms and prepare for next winter;
  • Applies to emergency levee repair and debris clearing impacted by this past winter’s storms, including: the San Joaquin River and tributaries, the Tulare Lake Basin and tributaries, the Salinas River and tributaries, the Pajaro River and tributaries, and other coastal streams between the Pajaro River and the Ventura River;
  • Suspends certain laws, regulations, and criteria in existing orders – conditioned on agencies complying with specified environmental and resource protection requirements – for emergency levee repair and debris removal projects. Suspensions include:
    • Lake and streambed alteration agreement laws and regulations implemented by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife;
    • Limiting provisions in State Water Board water quality certifications that would otherwise limit circumstances under which a public agency could rely on emergency regional general permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers;
    • Waste discharge requirements laws and regulations implemented by the Water Boards for projects that do not require an Army Corps of Engineers emergency permit;
    • The California Environmental Quality Act.
  • Includes a number of common-sense conditions to protect the environment and natural resources, drawn from the existing regulatory expertise at the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Water Resources, and the Water Boards.

This action builds on the series of measures Governor Newsom has taken in the wake of damage caused from last winter’s storms and flooding.

Read the full press release here.


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