FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A high-ranking representative from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is set to make a trip to the Central Valley to see firsthand the impact of the storms residents have had to weather over the last few weeks.

In an interview on Wednesday, Fresno-area Congressman Jim Costa says he’s extended an invitation to Michael Conner, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for the Civil Works division, to travel from Washington DC to see some of the Central Valley’s hard-hit areas. The visit is expected to take place next week.

Costa says that Conner’s visit is expected to last a day and a half, and during that time he will be escorted to some of the most impacted, storm-battered areas of his district to do a personal assessment of the damage. Conner is also scheduled to meet with water managers and water agencies to see how to minimize the impact of flooding in April and May and look for both short-term and long-term solutions.

Ryan Jacobson with the Fresno county farm bureau says farmers need federal aid now.

“We know crop production for some farmers is going to be substantially off if not all the way off if they can even get in the fields there so this is to help bridge that gap so they are around for another year because things can get really rough,” says Jacobson.

Costa also pointed out that several dozen homes in the south valley communities of Woodlake, Exeter, and Orosi experienced flooding three weeks ago, and they have since flooded again in the last week.

“Every part of California has been impacted by the last three months of these inundations of rain and snow of almost Biblical proportions, and for three years we were in extreme drought conditions, and we’ve been praying for rain, and I guess we’ve prayed really good,” said Costa. “Maybe a little more than we expected, and now we’re having to deal with the impacts of that – and we’re not done yet. We hope for a very mild spring, but if the weather gets very warm all of a sudden in the next month, we’ll have continued floods in the Valley as the snow melts.”

Costa says the Army Corps of Engineers has a constant presence within California, erecting and overseeing the Pine Flat Dam, Terminus Dam on the Kaweah River, Schafer Dam on the Tule River, and Lake Isabella on the Kern River.

Of this visit, Costa says a particular highlight is that it will give both representatives the chance to look at potential funding opportunities where the Army Corps of Engineers can provide support to fix parts of the Central Valley’s broken water system – as well as to help strengthen the California Water Blueprint Plan that has been in the works for two years.

Jacobson says farmers have already started to reach out for aid and are staying hopeful the assistance they need comes soon.