Construction Leveraged for Conservation
The Hamilton City project is the first riparian restoration effort undertaken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The total project cost of $81.7 million includes setting back 6.8 miles of levees and is cost-shared amongst federal, state and local partners. River Partners won a competitive federal construction bid to restore over 1,400 acres of habitat at the newly-created levee setback area along the Sacramento River.
Nestled amongst several units of the 3,900-acre Upper Sacramento River State Wildlife Area and the 10,300-acre Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge, the northern Sacramento River supports outdoor recreation for all of California. In the 1850’s, lands in this area were developed for orchard crops. Repeated flooding and harmful nematodes in the soil were a way of life for decades.
Starting in the 1970’s, flood-prone lands in the area began to be converted to managed wildlife areas. It took 20 years of negotiations for the lands within the levee setback area near Hamilton City to be acquired from willing sellers at fair market value for purposes of flood damage reduction and ecosystem restoration.
River Partners is returning revenues from this large-scale contracting project into more conservation work across California. Since 1998, River Partners has used this “earned-income model” to re-invest profits from contract work back into on-the-ground restoration projects.
Check out the article in Landscape Architecture A Floodplain Forest.