The USACE Sacramento District and elected officials from the Cities of Roseville and Sacramento along with representatives from state and federal agencies celebrated the end of the second annual California Flood Preparedness Week by unveiling a high water mark sign in Garcia Bend Park in November, 2013.
Congresswoman Doris Matsui, Councilmember Darrell Fong, and representatives from the California Department of Water Resources, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the USACE spoke on the importance of flood risk awareness and preparedness during the commemorative event.
Although USACE does build infrastructure that reduces risk, “just as important, actually probably more important than what we build, is how the community understands and prepares to deal with floods,” Tambour Eller, the Deputy District Director for Programs and Project Management at the USACE Sacramento District, noted.
The “Know Your Line: Be Flood Aware” High Water Mark initiative, created by FEMA and seven other federal agencies, helps communities remind residents of major local floods and encourages them to prepare for the next one.
Participating communities post high water mark signs in prominent places and conduct ongoing education to build local awareness of flood risk and motivate people to take action.
The sign at Garcia Bend Park, a neighborhood adjacent to the Sacramento River in one of the city’s most flood-risk prone areas, marks the height of water on the Sacramento River side of the levee during the 1986 flood. It is one of seven areas in the City of Sacramento that will receive the high water mark signs.
Four more signs will mark the water height in Roseville, which saw significant flooding in 1986 and 1997. Vice Mayor Carol Garcia, one of the speakers at the event, recalled her own personal experience as a victim of the flooding that year.
“We had a two year old daughter, and I was actually six months pregnant at the time when the flood hit our house unexpectedly that day. It was devastating to our family. I am a lifelong resident of Roseville, and I have never seen anything quite like it in our city,” Vice Mayor Carol Garcia said. Roseville suffered damage to 200 homes and water up to five feet above floor levels in the flood according to Garcia.
The high water mark event occurred during California Flood Preparedness Week, which was designed to increase flood risk awareness, encourage flood preparedness, and ultimately to encourage the public to take action to reduce flood risk.