Smith Mountain Irrigation Canal Levee FEMA Public Notice

November 8, 2023

Smith Mountain Irrigation Canal Levee FEMA Public Notice.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has received a subgrant application for Alta Irrigation District, Tulare County. Pursuant to Executive Order 11990 and 44 CFR Part 9.12, final notice is hereby given of FEMA’s intent to provide funding for this project under the Public Assistance Grant Program (PA).

Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), federal actions must be reviewed and evaluated for feasible alternatives and for social, economic, historic, environmental, legal, and safety considerations. – Executive Order (EO) 11988 and EO 11990 requires FEMA to consider alternatives – and provide a public notice of any proposed actions in or affecting floodplains or wetlands. EO 12898 requires FEMA to provide the opportunity for public participation in the planning process and to consider potential impacts to minority and low-income populations. This notice may also fulfill requirements under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).

Executive Orders 13985 and 14008 further address the need to achieve environmental justice and equity across the federal government. The issuance of the new executive orders more than 20 years after Executive Order 12898 was signed indicates the administration’s directive to federal agencies to renew their energy, effort, resources and attention to environmental justice. FEMA is working with applicants/sub-applicants to identify communities with Environmental Justice concerns and provide an avenue for local groups and non-profits with an Environmental Justice mission to self-identify so that FEMA Programs can start to work with them on specific projects from the beginning of the application process.

This notice serves as a project‐specific final notice for FEMA’s funding action located within a wetland area. FEMA has determined the only practicable alternative is to fund the repairs of the irrigation channel, levee and access road located within the area. Funding for the proposed project will be conditional upon compliance with all applicable federal, tribal, state and local laws, regulations, floodplain standards, permit requirements and conditions. This action complies with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requirements.


Responsible Entity: Alta Irrigation District

Applicant: Alta Irrigation District         

Project Title(s): Smith Mountain Irrigation Canal Levee Damages


Location of Proposed Work and National Wetlands Inventory Classification:


Site Name GPS Coordinates Wetland Classification
Smith Mountain Irrigation Canal Levee GPS Start: 36.562807, -19.354528, GPS End: 36.560023, -119.353173


R5UBFx: Riverine (R), Unknown Perennial (5), Unconsolidated Bottom (UB), Semi permanently Flooded (F), Excavated (x).


Site is located within or adjacent to wetlands according to U.S.F.W.S. Wetland Mapper viewed on 10/20/23.


Proposed Work and Purpose:

Project is for repairs to an irrigation channel, levee, and access road. This irrigation channel which is used to convey irrigation water to farmers, sustained damage caused by flood waters which overwhelmed the channel, overtopped the levee causing the levee to breach in 3 locations, and damaged the access road. Repairs included reconstruction of the irrigation channel, levee embankment and service road. Mitigation consists of adding a concrete liner to the channel to add resilience to future flood events.


Project Alternatives:

  • (1) Relocation of facilities outside of the wetland – This is not a feasible alternative as the irrigation channel is functionally dependent on its proximity to water and is itself classified as a wetland, so relocation or rerouting of the channel would not remove it from the wetland and is not practicable.
  • (2) No action alternative – This alternative is not feasible as the channel and levee repairs are necessary to ensure that local farmers receive irrigation water for commercial crop production, and the road repairs are necessary to allow for inspections and maintenance of the irrigation channel.


Comments: This will serve as the final public notice regarding the above‐described action funded by the FEMA Public Assistance program. Interested persons may submit comments, questions, or request a map of this specific project by writing to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Region 9, 1111 Broadway #1200, Oakland, CA 94607, or by emailing  Comments should be sent in writing with the subject line “Smith Mountain Irrigation Canal Levee Damages” at the above address within 15 days of the date of this notice.




NOTICE WAS POSTED ON the 8th DAY OF November 2023