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Posted on: May 24, 2022

Yuba Water premieres “The Tricky Yuba” documentary, tells a story of courage and perseverance

A black graphic with white writing that say "The Tricky Yuba"

 This week, Yuba Water Agency premiered its new documentary, “The Tricky Yuba,” at the Lee Burrows Center for the Arts in Marysville. The film highlights Yuba Water’s history, the reason for its formation, its significant accomplishments and what’s next for the agency.

“The project was really born from a desire to document the agency’s history from those who lived it,” said Willie Whittlesey, Yuba Water’s general manager. “We started talking about this around our 60th anniversary, and we felt that if we waited much longer, we could lose the ability to gather that history from those who lived it.”

“The Tricky Yuba” is named after a W. T. Ellis quote referring to the historically flashy and unpredictable nature of the Yuba River, which contributed to catastrophic and destructive flooding in Yuba and Sutter counties in 1955, 1986 and 1997.

As the film describes, flooding drove the formation of Yuba Water and the construction of New Bullards Bar Dam on the North Yuba River in the 1960s to reduce the risk of flooding in the region, and the continuing threat of flooding drives much of the work Yuba Water does to this day. But the story is full of twists and turns, challenges and emotion, which the documentary conveys through the personal stories of the people who have lived it.

“Our hope is that this film will help the people of Yuba County – the people we serve – understand who we are, why we exist, why we matter, and how bright the future really is for this community,” said DeDe Cordell, communications manager for Yuba Water.

The 53-minute documentary was created by Yuba Water in association with J Comm, Inc. and includes perspectives from some of the agency’s board of directors, past and present, and other elected officials, agency partners, Yuba County residents, local historians and more.

Additional showings are planned for the Marysville Peach Festival in July and at other locations as opportunities arise. If you are interested in hosting a screening of the film, contact Yuba Water’s communications team at

Yuba Water is a stand-alone public agency governed by a board of seven elected officials to serve the people of Yuba County. Established by a special act of the California State Legislature in 1959, the agency’s primary missions are flood risk reduction, water supply reliability, fish habitat protection and enhancement, hydroelectric generation and recreation at New Bullards Bar Reservoir.

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