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Posted on: September 21, 2021

Yuba Water grants support levee improvements throughout Yuba County

A photo looking down a gravel path on top of a levee.

Yuba Water Agency’s Board of Directors today approved more than $1.1 million for critical urban and rural levee improvements in Yuba County. 

“These investments ensure Yuba County businesses and communities can continue to grow and thrive knowing that they're among the best protected in the state in terms of flood risk,” said Yuba Water Vice-Chairman Gary Bradford.

The bulk of the funds, $1,050,000, were granted to Reclamation District 10 to continue construction of an elevated toe access corridor along the Feather River north of Marysville. A levee toe is the edge of the levee where the base meets the natural ground. The improvements will increase access for maintenance, inspections and flood fight operations during high water events, reduce the risk of levee failure from underseepage and limit unauthorized public access to the floodway. The agency previously granted $1.3 million to RD 10 for this project. The additional funds will bring the project to completion.

RD 10 includes approximately 12,000 acres of land and 23 miles of levees north of Marysville and east of the Feather River.

The board also approved a second $70,000 grant to Reclamation District 784. The district will use $50,000 to annex portions of the Bear and Feather River setback levees and the Yuba Goldfields levees. The move will bring levees constructed by the Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority into RD 784 boundaries, which is an important step toward ensuring that costs associated with newly-constructed levees in southern Yuba County are eligible for reimbursement from the state.

RD 784 received approval for an additional $20,000 to de-annex the rural Horseshoe Levee east of Plumas Lake. The funds will only be used if the district’s application is accepted and the state establishes a state maintenance area for the rural portions of the levees.

The largest levee district in Yuba County, RD 784 covers more than 40,000 acres of land and more than 33 miles of levees. The district encompasses approximately 2,000 commercial buildings and more than 12,500 homes, including the communities of Linda, Olivehurst, Arboga and Plumas Lake.

The board’s actions are part of an ongoing multi-partner, multi-decade effort to bring a 200-year level of urban flood protection to Yuba County, which means there’s roughly a 1 in 200 chance a storm could come along that is bigger than the system can handle.

Since its formation in 1959, Yuba Water has led the local effort with state and federal agencies, Congress and others to increase public safety by reducing the risk of catastrophic flooding in Yuba County. Yuba Water supports flood risk reduction primarily through the operation of New Bullards Bar Reservoir. The agency also assists local levee districts, which are responsible for maintaining the levee system within its boundaries, through coordination and funding.

Yuba Water’s grant application window occurs during March and September of each year. These grants were considered sooner to avoid delaying critical work and to meet deadlines associated with state reimbursement programs.

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