During its first meeting of the new year on Jan. 3, the Yuba Water Agency Board of Directors unanimously selected Gary Bradford as chairman and Don Blaser as vice-chairman for the 2023 calendar year. The board also welcomed Wayne Bishop and Jon Messick as its two newest board members.
“I appreciate the board’s trust in me and the opportunity to serve you another year as chair,” Bradford said.
This is Bradford’s second term as chairman. He previously served as chairman in 2022 and as vice chairman in 2021. Bradford has served on the board since 2017 through his role as a Yuba County supervisor representing District 4, which includes Plumas Lake and Wheatland.
Bishop was elected last year as the board’s representative of South Yuba County. Messick was elected as Yuba County’s District 5 supervisor representing Yuba County’s foothill and mountain communities and rural eastern Yuba County. Both will serve four-year terms on Yuba Water’s board.
Yuba Water’s seven-member governing board is comprised of all five members of Yuba County’s Board of Supervisors, plus two elected representatives of North and South Yuba County. The board works with the agency’s general manager to set policy and make decisions related to the agency’s missions of flood risk reduction, water supply reliability, fish habitat protection and enhancement, hydroelectric power generation and recreation at New Bullards Bar Reservoir. Their work is guided by a five-year strategic plan.
“I look forward to working closely with this new board to advance the agency’s core mission areas and serve the people of Yuba County together in the years ahead,” said Yuba Water General Manager Willie Whittlesey.
The board also approved an additional $1 million in funding for continued flood risk reduction work and levee improvements in South Yuba County. The funding adds to a previous financial commitment of $9 million by the agency aimed at leveraging state and federal dollars for a total investment of $41.6 million into completing design and implementation of a Climate Resiliency Project and to prepare a feasibility study for a multi-benefit project in an area of the lower Yuba River known as the Goldfields.
If successful in securing state and federal funding, Yuba Water and the Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority will use the money to complete design and implementation of the Climate Resiliency Project, which will create a uniform level of protection for Plumas Lake, Arboga, Linda and Olivehurst. Those areas are currently certified at the 200-year level of protection for the state. This project will increase that level significantly, exceeding the state’s level of flood protection requirements.
A 200-year level of flood protection is the state’s current standard in the urban areas of the Central Valley and means there is a 1-in-200 or half of a percent chance in any given year that a storm more powerful than the system is designed to handle will come along.