Rock Creek Flood Study Project

The Rock Creek Flood Study Project is a feasibility study to identify flood risk reduction solutions in the Rock Creek-Keefer Slough watershed, including the community of Nord. The project study area is the Rock Creek-Keefer Slough Watershed north of the City of Chico. The watershed includes several residential neighborhoods, the community of Nord, agricultural land, and other community uses in unincorporated Butte County. The watershed is generally east and west of Highway 99 from the headwaters of Rock Creek to the Sacramento River to the southwest. Principal roadways within the study area include Keefer Road, Garner Lane, Highway 99, Wilson Landing Road, Nord Highway, and Hamilton Nord Cana Highway.

The project has involved significant community input, with a series of four meetings to 1) Introduce the project, process, and timeline; 2) Seek input on solutions and criteria that will help prioritize project alternatives; 3) Refine project alternatives; and 4) Present a comparative analysis of costs and benefits of each project alternative. The feasibility study is the first step toward design and implementation of flood risk reduction projects in the watershed.

The draft study is now available for Board of Supervisors and public review. The study incorporates quality engineering, economics, real estate, and environmental analyses, with the goal of ensuring that the feasibility study results in actionable decisions within a reasonable time frame and cost. The study identifies a preferred alternative of "Levees,” which includes not only levees and floodwalls on Rock Creek and a portion of Sand Creek upstream of Highway 99, but also the installation of a stabilization structure at the bifurcation of Rock Creek and Keefer Slough, a ring levee around the community of Nord, and agricultural flood easements and home elevation on the west side of Highway 99. The total cost of this alternative – including design, environmental review, right of way acquisition, and construction – is estimated at approximately $54 million. 

The Feasibility Study also contains a number of other evaluated alternatives, all of which remain potential options if the County determines that they are more feasible or desirable. These options include a number of diversion and dam projects, as well as raising homes within the watershed. 

The main findings of the Feasibility Study include the following: 

  • Securing funding will become more competitive over time
  • Grants are geared more toward disadvantaged communities and multi-benefit projects  (Nord and North Chico don’t qualify)
  • Funding is more challenging in rural communities because of high costs and benefit to fewer properties than urbanized areas
  • Multiple funding sources will likely be required for the project
  • Additional staffing or a dedicated department/agency/district will likely be needed for grant and project management
  • Feasibility of the selected project must consider ongoing maintenance

To construct the any of the alternatives, it may be useful to form a flood control agency for the area. The City of Chico and the County are currently exploring the feasibility and costs of creating a flood control agency. The benefits of such an agency include dedicated staff and decision makers to better manage and mitigate risks in flood-prone areas; implement strategies, policies, and projects; pursue and secure grants; deliver projects; and save property owners millions in mandatory flood insurance costs. 

Rock Creek Flood Study Area (JPEG)
Rock Creek Flood Study with CSAs, PRDs and Parcels (JPEG)

For additional information, please contact Project Manager Jessica Hankins by email, or phone at 530-277-1783.

Project Status

After a series of four public meetings at which community input was received and incorporated into the analysis of draft project alternatives, the County now has a Draft Feasibility Study reflecting community input and engineering feasibility.  On September 26, 2023, at 9:30 a.m., Public Works staff will present the findings of the study and solicit feedback from the Board of Supervisors before finalizing the study later this year. Information on the Board meeting can be found in this attached flyer.

Meeting Information & Relevant Documents

The County held a series of community and stakeholder meetings in order to narrow the project alternatives that will reduce flood risk in the Rock Creek watershed. 

Meeting 1: Introduction & Project Overview

In Person - November 18, 2021

Virtual - October 28, 2021 

Meeting 2: Project Constraints, Options, & Selection Criteria

In-Person and Virtual - December 9, 2021

Meeting 3: Draft Project Alternatives

In-Person and Virtual -  April 26, 2022

Meeting 4:  Presentation and Preferred Projects

In-Person and Virtual -  June 30, 2022

Public Participation

For questions, input and public comments, please email Jessica Hankins. Or download the Rock Creek Flood Study Comment Card - Questionnaire (PDF), complete the questionnaire and return to Public Works.

If you would like to upload photos or documentation, or your comment card, please submit items on the Liquid Files Website.