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Lathrop continues efforts to protect city from flooding
flooding pic2
While Turlock and Stanislaus County did receive a considerable amount of rainfall and some localized flooding over the last few months, there was not significant damage, according to Dale Skiles, assistant director of emergency services for Stanislaus County. - photo by Journal file photo

The City of Lathrop will be able to continue issuing permits for the Mossdale Tract area for at least another year. 

On Monday, the Lathrop City Council approved the “finding of adequate progress” for the 200-year urban level of flood protection for the area within the Reclamation District 17 basin while efforts continue to overhaul the levee that protects Lathrop to meet the new California standard. 

Any development within the 200-year flood plain — and mapping down specifically to earn the adequate progress update has shown that the entire City of Lathrop, on both sides of Interstate-5, fall into that area — must have that finding in order to continue issuing discretionary permits for commercial and industrial uses and building permits for new residential homes. The building permits, according to the staff report prepared for the item approved on Monday, are for “a limited period subject to ongoing validation of that finding.”

Monday’s approval marks the third straight year that the city has made the filing while engineering and budgeting plans are put in place that will strengthen the entire levee for Reclamation District 17 from its southern terminus up through rural Manteca and on into Stockton. 

Additional work to strengthen the levee has been done since the initial finding in 2016, and emergency seepage repairs and strengthening done during the potential flooding period of early 2017 bolstered the levee that holds back the San Joaquin River. 

The Mossdale Tract area is located upstream of where the main arm of the San Joaquin River separates and creates a separate flow known as Old River but is located downstream from Paradise Cut — viewed by water experts as the new safety valve for potential flooding now that the Stewart Tract area, which was inundated by floodwaters in 1997, is now home to the heavily-fortified River Islands Development. 

The cost for the engineering studies necessary to earn the finding that will allow development to continue within the flood plain areas is being handled through an agreement between the Cities of Lathrop and Manteca which is backed by developers that are footing the bill for all of the necessary work. 

The San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency, or SJAFCA, serves as the Local Flood Management Agency, and the report has been filed with them through a new agreement that brings the cities of Manteca and Lathrop into the fold so that the urban flood protection can be achieved along the multi-jurisdictional levee. 

Because the levees of RD-17 extend through Manteca, Lathrop, Stockton and portions of San Joaquin County between them, the initial study that earned the finding of adequate progress and the subsequent additions to maintain that standing can be referenced by all land use agencies within its sphere in making their own new findings or validating the work that has already been completed. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.