Lower Elkhorn Basin Levee Setback Project

Picture of Lower Elkhorn Basin, Sacramento Weir and Bypass, Sacramento River, and Yolo Bypass

View of the Sacramento Weir, Yolo Bypass, and a portion of the Lower Elkhorn Basin (right side of photo)

The Lower Elkhorn Basin Levee Setback (LEBLS) Project is the first phase of implementation of recommendations from the 2012 Central Valley Flood Protection Plan (CVFPP) and associated studies carried out by the Department of Water Resources. The project will contribute to the CVFPP goals of providing improved public safety for approximately 780,000 people by:

  • Reducing river levels (stages) in the Sacramento River
  • Increasing the capacity of the Yolo and Sacramento Bypasses near the urban communities of Sacramento and West Sacramento, as well as rural communities, Woodland, and Clarksburg

The improvements will also provide:

  • System resiliency
  • Opportunities to improve ecosystem functions, such as:
    • Increasing inundated floodplain habitat for fish rearing
    • Improving the connection to the Sacramento Bypass Wildlife Area

The project consists of approximately 7 miles of setback levees in the Lower Elkhorn Basin along the east side of the Yolo Bypass, and the north side of the Sacramento Bypass. The project is:

  • Removing all or portions of the existing levees that will be set back
  • Removing portions of local reclamation district cross levees
  • Improving or relocating related infrastructure

DWR continues to coordinate closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Central Valley Flood Protection Board (CVFPB), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to manage the permits needed for this project. DWR is also coordinating with local reclamation district and agencies and utility companies on specific infrastructure relocation and improvements. Some of the infrastructure work will be carried out by other agencies.

Construction Has Begun

The project started construction during the summer of 2020 during the COVID pandemic.  Project staff continue to maintain safe working practices and are achieving major construction milestones.  Construction is anticipated to continue for multiple years and will utilize multiple contractors directly and through project partners including Forgen, Sukut Construction, GSE Construction, and others.