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. 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 involved significant community input which included a series of four public meetings and a presentation to the Board of Supervisors on September 26, 2023.

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. A number of other evaluated alternatives are included, all of which remain potential options.

To construct 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 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.

Findings

The main findings of the Rock Creek Flood Study Project 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 the high cost-to-benefit ratio due to fewer properties than in more 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
  • The 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)