Yuba Water Agency’s Board of Directors today committed up to $17.4 million in grant funding to support water supply management, watershed resilience, water education and flood risk reduction in Yuba County.
“These grants support a wide variety of programs and projects that will directly benefit our community, from the top of our watershed down to communities in the valley,” said Yuba Water Board Chairman Gary Bradford.
A summary of each grant is below.
FLOOD RISK REDUCTION
Yuba County Public Works
A local cost-share grant worth up to $16 million to potentially leverage more than $77 million in grants through the state’s Active Transportation Program was approved for the Yuba County Public Works Department to improve drainage in Linda and Olivehurst as part of three potential projects to design and construct new sidewalks, bicycle lanes, improved transit stops, storm drainage and gutters.
“The combined scale of these three grants is bigger than anything we’ve gone after before, which is exactly what the state is looking for in this ATP cycle,” said Yuba County Public Works Director Daniel Peterson. “If successful, these grants will achieve 10 years of work in a much shorter timeframe and will truly transform these communities. We’re grateful for the agency’s partnership and support today.”
Yuba Water’s funding will improve the competitiveness of Yuba County’s grant application to the Active Transportation Program, which is due June 15. The program encourages bicycling and walking, especially for children traveling to school and for residents of disadvantaged communities. The Yuba Water funds would only be dispersed if the county receives the state grants.
“I’ve lived in all three areas under consideration for these grants and can attest to the desperate need for all that’s being provided,” said Board Director Seth Fuhrer, whose district includes Olivehurst. “I’m proud to be a part of the effort to improve our community and excited for what’s ahead.”
City of Marysville
Yuba Water approved an $88,500 grant for the City of Marysville to purchase a skid steer tractor that will be used to clean and maintain vulnerable areas surrounding the city, including levees and areas close to the major waterways.
This new equipment will allow the city to maintain vegetation and debris along the levees around the city, which reduces both flood and fire risk.
Hallwood Irrigation Company
Yuba Water approved a $650,000 grant for the Hallwood Irrigation Company to help plan and engineer improvements to its irrigation system, which provides water to approximately 8,500 acres of farmland north of the lower Yuba River in Yuba County.
The current irrigation system was constructed more than 100 years ago and has failed twice in the last two years, resulting in water supply loss and property damage.
The grant funds will be used to complete an assessment of the irrigation system and develop a plan to improve and correct identified deficiencies.
Browns Valley Irrigation District
A $10,000 grant to the Browns Valley Irrigation District will be used to purchase a drone to detect, assess and verify emergency conditions or potential leaks at the district’s dam, as well as identify other water supply deficiencies for potential future repair projects.
Browns Valley Irrigation District operates and maintains Virginia Ranch Dam, a federally regulated, high hazard dam that forms Collins Lake in the Yuba County foothills. The district provides irrigation water to over 1,300 properties, serving approximately 5,300 people in Browns Valley and Loma Rica.
South Yuba River Citizens League
Yuba Water approved a $403,951 grant for the South Yuba River Citizens League to continue its Salmon Expeditions, a watershed-based program that educates Yuba County fourth graders on the Yuba River watershed. The program includes on-river rafting trips and classroom education.
"We've done a lot of great things in the last few years,” said Board Director Brent Hastey. “But getting kids out on the river, learning about hydraulic mining during the Gold Rush and how it still impacts us today, understanding the traditional use of the land by Native American Tribes, and getting up close and personal with the lifecycle of a salmon - this program is one of the best things we can do for our community and something I am extremely proud of."
The grant funds will be used over the next three years and allow SYRCL to offer the programming and field trips to nearly all Yuba County fourth graders are able to experience the Salmon Expeditions.
Olivehurst Public Utility District
A $15,000 grant to the Olivehurst Public Utility District will help cover operational expenses and training for staff at its public pool, which is open to children, teens and adults during the summer months. The pool is monitored by certified lifeguards and offers a safe alternative to swimming and playing in and around the local waterways, where cold, swift-moving water, undercurrents and hidden objects can create dangerous conditions.
OPUD’s facility is the only public pool in Yuba County that is monitored by trained lifeguards. The funds are necessary to help the district keep the pool open during the peak recreating months of June, July and August.
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy was awarded a $237,896 cost-share grant to fund a study that will inform critical restoration planning for projects in the North Yuba Forest Partnership area. The study will use drones to assess and monitor the landscape and offer a science-based approach to identify trees that can be removed to improve forest health.
The North Yuba Forest Partnership is a diverse group of nine organizations, including Yuba Water, that is working on an unprecedented scale to restore 275,000 acres of forest in the North Yuba River watershed.
The grants summarized above, except for the funding for Yuba County’s public works department, reflect Yuba Water’s commitment to reinvest up to $10 million each year on community impact grants. Most grants go to projects that reduce flood risk and protect Yuba County’s water supply, the agency’s two primary missions. Eligible grantees must be a local government agency, tax-exempt non-profit or Native American tribe within Yuba County.
Yuba Water encourages relevant grant applications during two funding request windows, March 1 to April 1 and September 1 to October 1.