Sacramento, Calif. — Kleinfelder was honored with an ACEC California Merit Award for its contributions to the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) Levee Evaluations Program (LEP).

Throughout the California Central Valley, levees provide essential protection for communities and farmland, preventing catastrophic flooding and loss of life. State of California’s Department of Water Resources (CA DWR) has undertaken unprecedented efforts to evaluate and upgrade the aging and deteriorating levees in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River Valleys and Delta. CA DWR is evaluating urban project levees in these areas, as well as surveying the entire 1,600 miles of project levees in the Central Valley.

Kleinfelder was one of two prime consultants responsible for performing geotechnical engineering services for the Non-urban Levee Geotechnical Evaluations (NULE), Urban Levee Evaluations (ULE), and San Joaquin River Restoration (SJRR) Projects. The $112 million 5-year contract (with two extension years) was awarded to Kleinfelder in May 2008 due to our extensive knowledge of local conditions and understanding/experience in the FEMA levee geotechnical engineering certification process.

Kleinfelder helped the CA DWR successfully meet its goals despite extraordinary challenges, and develop a tool box of design standards for remediation of California’s levee systems.

The purpose of the LEP was to determine whether state and federal urban project and appurtenant non-project levees met defined geotechnical criteria. The following results highlight the future value for the region and beyond:

  • 106 critical sites were identified, evaluated, and vetted with local agencies.
  • Pre-feasibility cost estimate reports for each critical site were prepared to support grant process applications/funding.
  • A web-based access point was created to store the LEP body of knowledge with uniform assessment of all key urban/non-urban central valley levees.
  • A basis for evaluating future levee improvements was developed including guidance documents, criteria, remedial alternatives, and preliminary costs.

Given the unique nature of this comprehensive effort, the overall approach, methodology, and processes that were used as part of the LEP are being replicated by other local, state and federal agencies nationwide.

The award will be presented at the ACEC California Engineering Excellence Awards Gala on January 28, 2016 at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego.