Funding Approved for Pajaro River Flood Management Project

A project to repair the Pajaro River levee system South Santa Cruz County will receive $400 million in state funds following the passage and signing of Senate Bill 489. The California Dept. of Water Resources is now empowered to advance gap financing to The Pajaro River Flood Risk Management Project, which will protect the communities of Watsonville and Pajaro. There have been four major floods on the Pajaro River and its tributaries that overtopped or breached the levees since their construction in the late 1940s. Floods in 1995 caused more than $95 million in damage and two people died. The state funds make up 35% of the cost of the project with the rest being contributed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. An Environmental Impact Report is slated for release next year and work on the project is expected to begin in 2025.

Hawaii County Incorporates Sea-Level Rise Projections in Construction Regulations

To meet the growing threat of sea-level rise, Kauaʻi County in Hawaii has approved new construction and planning regulations requiring the use of scientific models to estimate future water depths. The new rules, thought to be among the first of their kind in the nation, requires the lowest floor of residential building to be elevated two feet above the highest projected sea level rise flood elevation. Non-residential buildings will need to meet a one-foot clearance. The computer model projections incorporated in the regulations were developed by the UH Mānoa Climate Resilience Collaborative, which worked with the county to develop the new rules.

$50.4M in State Funds Directed to 18 Flood Management Programs

The California Dept. of Water Resources (DWR) has chosen five planning and monitoring and 13 implementation projects to receive $50.4 million in funds as part of the The Floodplain Management, Protection and Risk Awareness (FMPRA) Grant Program. The state program established in 2019 supports local agency efforts to prepare for flooding by providing financial assistance for flood risk reduction activities related to stormwater flooding, mudslides and flash floods. Funding through Proposition 68 was also made available for the program. The FMPRA Grant Program prioritizes economically disadvantaged community assistance, multi-benefit project features and flood risk reduction projects in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) special flood hazard area. A list of the grant winners can be found on the DWR website.

Two Kern County Solar Projects Receive $217M in Financial Backing

Construction funding has been secured for a pair of solar energy projects expected to generate 143 MWdc in California, according to Spanish energy platform Matrix Renewables. A total of $217 million will be used for the Gaskell West 2 and 3 projects that are already under construction in Kern County, Calif. The project includes an 80 MWh energy storage system. The funds will be provided through loans from MUFG, HSBC, National Bank of Canada and Commonwealth Bank, and follow $92 million in tax equity financing from Bank of America N.A. the project received in June 2022. Matrix Renewables was created and backed by global alternative asset manager TPG.

Granite Awarded $33M Long Beach Roadway Project

The City of Long Beach has chosen Granite for a $33 million Artesia Great Boulevard Project. Work on the 3.2-mile portion of the roadway between Gale Avenue and Downey Avenue will include roadway improvements, median and median fencing improvements, traffic signal enhancements, installation of ITS (Intelligent Transportation System) equipment, Class IV bike lanes, bulb-outs, storm water bio-retention treatments and wayfinding signage. The project will be funded by the City of Long Beach, the Metropolitan Transportation District, and the California Dept. of Transportation. The project is scheduled for completion at the end of 2023.