Watch: ‘Chevy to the Levee’ Taken Too Far as CA Farmers Use Trucks to Stop Flooding

Flood control in Central California has hardly ever been an issue until this month’s recent storms. Massive amounts of rain have fallen, with still more to come next week. Desperate times sometimes require desperate measures, as seen in this recent video. It shows farmers driving a Chevrolet pickup truck onto a broken levee to slow down the flooding of cropland. 

Why did they use the trucks like this?

trucks levee
Trucks used to rebuild levee in California | Cannon via Twitter

For truck enthusiasts, it’s a cringeworthy sight to see these work trucks used like this. But the record rainfall is increasing instances of river banks overflowing, as is the case in this scene in the San Joaquin Valley. That’s the Tule River, and the flooding is slowly infiltrating a pistachio orchard. 

The outflow of water is too fierce to try to make repairs. So this is what these farmers used to try to stop it. A Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado are loaded with dirt and mud. Then, their throttles are fixed in an open position, and one of the farmers reaches into the truck and shifts it into Drive. 

What about the damage from oil and gasoline in the trucks?

The truck careens into the levee, and the force of the water positions it right into the breach. But that is not where it ends. Subsequent images show the farmers piled dirt onto the pickups, slowly filling in the levee. The final shots show their finished work, with the graded dirt burying the trucks as the basis for this new levy.

Yes, the pickups still have their gas and oil, which could cause harm to the orchard and the environment. But these trucks’ burial isn’t their final resting place. The trucks will see the light of day once the water subsides, according to Twitter poster Michael Cannon. Of course, they’re toast, but at least they won’t be leaching out contaminants. 

Cars and trucks as erosion control

erosion control
Cars as erosion control | MT Law 75-7-106

We’ve seen cars and trucks lining river banks to shore up river erosion for decades. Known as “rip-rap,” junk cars line riverbanks and levees as the main obstruction. The native tree limbs, brush, and rocks fill in around the junk cars to protect the dirt and brush from further erosion.

If you wonder why you don’t see this done very often, it is because the practice is now against the law in most places in the U.S. Besides the blight, leaching oil and gasoline does its own harm to the rivers’ edges. Not to mention rusting metal and whatever else is degrading from the cars’ slow deterioration.

The trucks served a purpose, or did they?

Trucks levee
Trucks used to rebuild levee in California | Cannon via Twitter
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But as to the makeshift levee, the good news is that it looks like nothing ever happened. Let’s hope the combo of trucks and dirt will hold up a while longer as Central California braces for another line of rainstorms set to hit next week.