Maintenance work begins on several ditches critical to protecting Sacramento infrastructure

Levee maintenance began Thursday along ditches and creeks in Sacramento, part of ongoing work across the city by its Department of Utilities to remove debris and overgrown vegetation from areas used for flood control and prevention.

Work on the ditches, located in several areas of the city, is expected to last several weeks.

Sacramento has several of these semi-riparian manmade channels, said Carlos Eliason, a spokesperson for the utilities department. He said if these conditions are left unkempt, it can lead to more vegetation growth and debris that could cause problems down the line during the rainy season.

“We go in, we manage some of the vegetation, we get debris out, we do repairs on muddy slopes and fencing and all those sorts of things to make sure that those control system facilities are in good working condition when the rainy season arrives,” Eliason said.

Eliason said the work is essential for Sacramento, at the bottom of the Valley in elevation, to mitigate against flooding.

“It’s absolutely critical,” Eliason said. “The job of the Department of Utilities is to make sure that many of those levee portions are working and in good working order, but we also have to basically pump out any stormwater that does fall in the city of Sacramento, or manages to find its way in the city.”

The ditches that the city where work will take place include:

Interstate 80 North Ditch: An area that runs along the freeway near Magpie Creek and east of Steelhead Creek, the main flood channel separating North Sacramento and Natomas, will be first to be addressed;

Globe Avenue Ditch: Work began Thursday on the culvert that runs through portions of Woodland and Old North Sacramento;

Riza Ditch: Work will start next week on a channel that feeds south Sacramento runoff to Morrison Creek along 65th Street Expressway and Stockton Boulevard south of Elder Creek Road;

PG&E Ditch: A south Sacramento channel that runs from Florin Perkins Road and 23rd Avenue through the Florin Fruitridge Industrial Park, which will be cleaned out next week;

Cascade Ditch: A channel on the eastern fringe of the city, running parallel to Kiefer Boulevard near South Watt Avenue, will be the last on the project list, according to a city announcement.

The Department of Community Response’s multi-service team visited the ditches several times before maintenance work was scheduled to begin, said Julie Hall, a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Community Response. Those teams worked to connect homeless encampments in the channels with city resources and wraparound services, such as shelter and social services.

“Through this outreach, the city aims to make meaningful progress toward community safety and success,” Hall said. “This collaborative effort between the Department of Community Response and Department of Utilities ensures that all aspects of our community are being served effectively. The partnership not only supports people in need but also ensures that the city’s critical infrastructure is maintained safely.”

The work is expected to last through the end of June.