Not too long ago  FLCR members attended several public meetings to express our dismay to Army Coprs of Engineers, the CA Dept. of Water Resources,  San Joaquin County, and other agencies regarding the practise of shaving the levees of the Calaveras River bald. We also expressed grave concern about Army Corps’ new  requirement to cut down and reove all shrubs and trees currently existing on our levees throughout California.

Well…  it looks like our our elected representative, Jerry McNerney, along with 16 of his colleagues in CA, were listening. They have submitted a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers asking them  to revisit their “scorched earth” policy and work with local and State officials to ensure the viability of riparian vegetation, shrubs, and trees on our levees.

Here’s an excerpt from their letter:

Our local governments make it clear that rmeoving all trees and shrubs from federally constructed levees along rivers and streams, as the new guidelines would require, is not a workable policy. The new guidance has the potential to impact thousands of miles of levees across California, compropmise our already fragile ecosystems, place a large financial burden on our struggling economy, ignore region specific conditions, and negativley impact public safety.

The Army Corps levee vegetation policy may result in stripping valuable ecosystem habitat from our state, as well as force projects to be redesigned at higher cost to taxpayers.  This levee vegetation policy could actually decrease the stability of levees. It is also in conflict with federal environmental agency protections of endangered species.