American River Watershed Common Features 2016 – Sacramento River East Levee
The Lower Sacramento River East Levee System is comprised of approximately 12 miles of levee between downtown Sacramento and the Town of Freeport. This levee protects essentially all areas of the City of Sacramento south of the American River and west of Highway 99.
Between 1990-1993, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) constructed 15 miles of levee cutoff walls to address the potential of through seepage during high river flows. An additional 2 miles of cutoff wall work was completed between 2003-2004. However, research and studies conducted following the events of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 found that levees were more susceptible to failure from conditions created by deep under seepage than was previously understood. In light of this finding, state and federal agencies adopted new policies and standards requiring substantial changes to levee design for urbanized areas. In 2019, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began constructing levee improvements to address embankment and foundation stability issues caused by deep under seepage and bring the levee system up to modern day standards. USACE is also planning to further strengthen the levee system by constructing erosion protection measures along the river bank.
In all, it is anticipated that USACE will construct an additional 9 miles of levee cutoff walls and 10 miles of riverbank erosion protection work. Once completed, the improvements will further reduce flood risk and meet current urban levels of flood protection requirements.