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Posted on: December 6, 2022

Yuba Water approves grants for water supply improvements, watershed resilience and more

A photo of a rural canal with water in it.

The Yuba Water Agency Board of Directors today committed more than $1 million in grant funding to support water supply reliability, watershed resilience, flood risk reduction and first responder agencies in Yuba County. 

A summary of each grant is below.

Water supply

Browns Valley Irrigation District

A $500,000 grant was approved for the Browns Valley Irrigation District to improve a water diversion from the Yuba River upstream of Daguerre Point Dam, also referred to as the Pumpline Canal. 

In recent years, more land within the district’s boundaries has been developed for agriculture, which has increased the demand for water and outpaced the capacity that the canal can currently support. The funds will be used to reconfigure the canal and alleviate chokepoints. 

“This project is the most practical, cost-effective way to help meet our district’s water supply demands,” said Kelly McNally, general manager of BVID. “With these improvements, we will be able to add additional capacity that can make a huge difference for our community.”

Yuba Water and BVID have a long history of working together to sustainably manage Yuba County’s water supply. BVID provides irrigation water to more than 1,300 properties in the Yuba County foothills, serving approximately 5,300 people in Browns Valley and Loma Rica, and accomplishes those deliveries using water stored in Collins Lake, as well as through diversions from the Yuba River. 

Watershed Resilience

Yuba Watershed Protection and Fire Safe Council

Two separate grants totaling $308,000 were approved for the Yuba Watershed Protection and Fire Safe Council to support forest health and reduce catastrophic wildfire risk in the Yuba County foothills. 

A grant for up to $200,000 was approved to update the Yuba Foothills Community Wildfire Protection Plan. The updated plan will include a comprehensive analysis of wildfire hazards to foothill communities, as well as a long-term strategy to reduce wildfire risk. The final amount of the grant depends on whether the Fire Safe Council is able to secure funding from the U.S. Forest Service’s Community Wildfire Defense Grant program. If approved for that funding, Yuba Water would only cover the $15,000 local cost share.

An additional $108,000 grant was approved to support the Fire Safe Council’s Forest Business Alliance Project, a pilot project which will help build up organizations and businesses to advance forest health and resilience efforts and promote collaboration involving underserved communities in Yuba County’s foothills. The project’s second phase will leverage a $500K grant from CalFire to expand the workforce development efforts throughout Northern California. 

“This is an innovative, brand-new program, starting right here in Yuba County, which could really support the region’s desperate need to restore our forests to a healthy state,” said Randy Fletcher, Yuba Water Agency director and Yuba County supervisor whose territory includes the foothills. “Projects like this and our many other forest health efforts give me hope that we could really make a dent in this issue and get our watershed healthy before it’s too late.”    

Bear Yuba Land Trust

Yuba Water also approved a $135,845 grant for the Bear Yuba Land Trust to improve forest and meadow health within the 2,700-acre Rice’s Crossing Preserve, which stretches approximately six miles from New Bullards Bar Reservoir to Englebright Reservoir. As part of the Yuba Rim Trail Forest Enhancement Project, the grant will be used to remove small, overstocked trees and shrubs and invasive plants along 1.5 miles of the trail and to plant native grasses and wildflowers to restore a meadow located near the trailhead.

Flood Risk Reduction

Wheatland Fire Authority

Yuba Water approved a grant for more than $18,000 to the Wheatland Fire Authority to improve the department’s emergency rescue operations, as well as its ability to monitor levees in the area. The funds will be used to purchase new watercraft that will be equipped with emergency equipment and apparatus for transporting patients. 

The Wheatland Fire Authority has seven trained swift water rescue personnel and is responsible for emergency incidents at Camp Far West Lake. 

Bill Shaw Rescue Equipment and Training Grants

Linda Fire District

A grant worth up to $10,000 was approved for Linda Fire District to replace dry suits, water shoes and personal flotation devices used for swift water rescue operations. Some of the department’s equipment has been in service since the late 90s and needs replacement.

Foothill Fire District

A $10,000 grant was approved for the Foothill Fire District to purchase new firehoses and hose packs, which will allow the department to respond to fires in the foothills more efficiently.

Dobbins Oregon House Fire Protection District

The Dobbins Oregon House Fire Protection District was awarded $10,000 to purchase new equipment for firefighting, extrications and emergency rescues, as well as on-scene safety equipment. 

Camptonville Volunteer Fire Department

Yuba Water approved $10,000 for the Camptonville Volunteer Fire Department to purchase two new sets of structure turnout equipment and five sets of wildland turnout equipment. Much of the department’s current gear is aging and is limited in sizes. 

About Yuba Water's grant programs: The grants summarized above reflect Yuba Water’s commitment to reinvest up to $10 million each year on community impact grants that align with the agency’s core mission areas with the goal of improving the quality of life for the people of Yuba County. Eligible grantees must be a local government agency, tax-exempt non-profit or Native American tribe within Yuba County. 

Yuba Water launched its Bill Shaw grants in 2018 based on a suggestion from an employee who was severely injured in an accident and wanted to help those who had helped him. The grants are exclusively for first-responder agencies in Yuba County and cover one-time costs of up to $10,000 per applicant, per fiscal year, associated with the purchase of rescue equipment or specialized personnel training. 

Yuba Water encourages relevant grant applications during two funding request windows, March 1 to April 1 and September 1 to October 1.

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