Officials Refuse to Clear Levees of Foliage

Lacy Atkins/SF Chronicle

In defiance of a federal policy intended to bolster the safety of California levees, some Bay Area legislators, regulators and water agencies said Monday that they refuse to remove shrubs and trees from the banks of numerous creeks and culverts.

They say stripping vegetation from 100 miles of levees around the nine counties would cost millions, ruin scenic byways and damage riparian, or riverbank, ecosystems.