Little Egbert Multi-Benefit Project

The Little Egbert Multi-Benefit Project (Project) is proposed for the approximately 3,150-acre Little Egbert Tract and the approximately 350-acre Powell property that lies adjacent to the southern edge of the Little Egbert tract.  These properties are located within the Yolo Bypass immediately upstream of Rio Vista, California, in Solano County (Figure 1).  Reclamation District (RD) No. 2084 encompasses the Little Egbert Tract.  The Little Egbert Tract is bordered to the north and east by Cache Slough where it is protected by restricted height levees intended to breach during flood events to facilitate the increased conveyance of flood flows through the Yolo Bypass.

The initial Project concept was developed through a 2018 Feasibility Study commissioned by the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA) on behalf of the Lower Sacramento – Delta North (LS-DN) Regional Flood Management Planning (RFMP) team.  This early Project concept was formulated to demonstrate the Project’s potential to optimize flood risk reduction, habitat, and agricultural economic benefits.  Additional field studies and modeling are required to develop preliminary project alternatives that will be made available to the public for review and comment during the Project’s environmental process. The result would be a single multi-benefit project that delivers significant new habitat creation and regional flood risk reduction benefits.

  • FLOOD – The Project would reduce regional flood risk with stage reductions between 0.5 and 1.5-feet for the approximately 25-year flood event in the lower Yolo Bypass and Cache Slough complex tributaries. The Project would also reduce stage between 0.1 and 0.3-feet for the approximately 200-year flood event over this same area.  The Project is expected to include 5 to 6-miles of levee improvements.  The levee improvements near the southern end of the Project would help the City of Rio Vista achieve the State’s small community standard of 100-year flood protection.
  • AGRICULTURE – The agricultural economy in the Cache Slough complex is expected to benefit from the flood stage reductions that would be created by the Project. Preliminary hydrologic and hydraulic modeling suggests that water stage reductions could extend upstream and provide some level of flood protection for approximately 40-miles of agricultural and rural levees in the Cache Slough complex and within the lower to mid-Bypass.
  • CLIMATE CHANGE – Sea level rise and climate change are expected to significantly decrease the viability of maintaining the Little Egbert Tract as a reclaimed landscape into the future. The Project provides an opportunity to actively manage the transition of the land in a manner that (1) maximizes flood protection benefits and flood system resilience, (2) maximizes the creation of quality habitat, and, (3) minimizes impacts to overall water quality and water supply intakes in the vicinity.
  • HABITAT – The Project would permanently inundate the Little Egbert Tract and Powell property in a manner that would re-establish a diverse open water, tidal marsh and riparian ecosystem complex to benefit threatened wildlife such as the Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon, Chinook salmon, and giant garter snake. The Project would be expected to create more than 3,200 acres of new habitat supporting rearing and/or spawning areas for fish species through the creation of subtidal, tidal marsh, and seasonal floodplain habitats.
Recent Developments

The California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA), in partnership with the state Department of Water Resources and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, announced in early October 2020 it will direct $2.5 million in state bond funds to the Little Egbert JPA to engage with local stakeholders, continue advancing technical studies, and undertake preliminary steps in project planning and design. LEJPA is currently working with CNRA to execute the grant agreement.

Proposed Project Area
Map of Little Egbert Multi-Benefit Project site