Construction Projects

Construction of the USACE’s Sutter Basin Levee Improvements – Cypress Avenue to Tudor Road is scheduled to begin in Spring 2019. The project is currently out for bid. Please see the bid solicitation for more information.

Construction of the Feather River West Levee Project I officially began on July 25, 2013 and has been completed.

Construction of emergency repairs to 2.9 miles of the west Feather River levee in Yuba City has been completed.

Construction of the Laurel Avenue Repair Project has been completed.

Scroll down for project information.

View Construction Photo Gallery (Feather River West Levee Project)


Aerial View of Emergency Repairs – September 8, 2017


Aerial View of Emergency Repairs – August 11, 2017

Feather River West Levee Project

The Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency is repairing 44 miles of levees from Thermalito Afterbay south to the Sutter Bypass (project map). The goal of the project is to reduce flood risk and eventually remove more than 34,000 properties from FEMA Special Flood Hazard Areas. Levee repairs will be completed in two separate projects (see below).

The repairs are needed because levees along the west bank of the Feather River suffer from potential underseepage and through-seepage. Similar problems caused major levee failures in Yuba City in 1955, and Yuba County in 1986 and 1997.

In general, the Feather River levees will be made stronger by building deep cutoff walls (also known as slurry walls) and seepage berms. These levee improvements block or slow the flow of water through and underneath the levees. Not all 44 miles of levees will need each of these improvements. More than 80 percent of the repairs will involve the construction of slurry walls, some as deep as 120 feet. In a few select areas, seepage berms constructed on the land side of the levee were determined to be the best fix.

The levee improvement program is expected to:

  • Increase public safety by providing 200-year flood protection to Biggs, Gridley, Live Oak, and most of Yuba City, and improve flood protection for the less populated areas south of Yuba City.
  • Save property owners tens of millions each year in mandatory flood insurance costs by delaying or preventing FEMA floodplain mapping.
  • Allow cities and counties the freedom to implement general plans, which will soon be severely restricted for any urban or urbanizing community without 200-year flood protection. This would not apply to rural communities (areas with fewer than 10,000 residents).
  • Maintain the rights of property owners to make substantial improvements to property without new state or federal land use restrictions.
  • Sustain and grow the local economy by creating construction jobs, protecting property values, and allowing for responsible residential, commercial and industrial development.


Project I & II

Levee repairs will be completed in two separate phases:

  • Project I, the Feather River West Levee Project, will include work from Thermalito Afterbay to Star Bend, just south of Yuba City, and is targeted to be completed by the end of 2017 (includes emergency repairs to 2.9 miles of levee adjacent to Yuba City).
  • Project II will include the area south of Star Bend to the confluence of the Feather River and the Sutter Bypass. Project II work includes the Laurel Avenue Repair Project, which began in mid-2017.

The Feather River West Levee Project is on schedule and within budget.


Project Cost

The most recent cost estimate – $378 million – reflects the combined costs of the Feather River West Levee Project I, which is nearly completed, and Project II work.  This estimate will continue to be refined as the projects move toward completion. To date, the State is expected to pay as much as 78 percent of the costs for Project I. Property assessment revenues (approved by property owners in June 2010) will be used to pay the remaining share. As of November 2017, the State has committed $226.8 million toward the design and construction of Project I.  In addition, the State committed up to $4.2 million for emergency measures to address flooding in February 2017. SBFCA has recently completed Laurel Avenue Repair Project at a cost of $11.15 million with the State funding $9.5 million of these costs.  In addition, SBFCA has secured State and Federal Funding for the Sutter Basin Levee Improvement Project (Feather River West Levee between Cypress and Tudor).  The Total Project is expected to cost $77 million with the Federal Government funding approximately $50 million and the State funding approximately $18.9 million. Assessment revenues will fund the remainder.


2017 Emergency Repairs – Yuba City

In early 2017, a 2.9 mile segment of levee adjacent to the City’s urban center (from approximately Gilsizer Slough south to Whiteaker Hall) showed signs of severe distress – such as seepage, sink holes and boils, and waterside erosion during winter/spring storm events and in the days following the Oroville spillway failure. Local agencies and the State averted potential disaster by aggressive flood fighting over a period of several weeks.

SBFCA had no plans to repair this stretch of levee, because the US Army Corps of Engineers had previously installed a slurry wall within it (2000). However, the poor performance of the slurry wall led SBFCA and the State to plan an emergency repair for completion before the next flood season. The US Army Corps of Engineers and the Central Valley Flood Protection Board expedited the approval of permits required for the project, allowing construction to begin August 2, 2017. Given the scope and scale of the repairs, construction will be completed by December 1, which is one month after the start of flood season.

The majority of the $28.5 million project is being paid for by the California Department of Water Resources.

Project Map
Project Fact Sheet