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Posted on: February 7, 2023

Board receives update on flood risk reduction efforts, approves funding for levee work and more

Bear River Setback Levee upgrades

Today, Yuba Water Agency’s Board of Directors received an in-depth update on the agency’s current and planned flood risk reduction projects and approved funding for additional flood risk reduction and water supply reliability efforts in Yuba County.

“Thanks to the actions of this agency and our local partners, Yuba County is now home to some of the most modern levees in the entire Central Valley,” said Ryan McNally, Yuba Water’s director of water resources and flood risk reduction. “But there is still much more work to do. We are very prone to extreme weather events here and expect even more extremes in the future.”

McNally detailed more than a dozen major projects completed over the last decade, thanks to significant coordination and funding from Yuba Water and its partners, including improvements to a recently-completed setback levee on the Bear River in Reclamation District 817’s territory, which includes parts of Wheatland.

"The Bear River Setback Levee was completed in November, just in time for the intense rains that hammered the region in January,” McNally said. “The increased channel capacity and improved access for maintenance and inspections during high water events was immediately put to good use and worked as intended.”

Work on the Marysville Ring Levee continues, in an effort to reduce flood risk for more than 12,000 Marysville residents and safeguard critical infrastructure like Adventist Health and Rideout, the region’s largest and only level-3 trauma services hospital, state highways 20 and 70 and two Union Pacific Railroad mainlines. The Marysville Levee Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lead that project with support from Yuba Water.

Yuba Water staff also gave an overview of future flood risk reduction projects, including a planned second spillway at New Bullards Bar Dam that would offer more flexibility to release water before large, threatening storms hit, while there is still plenty of capacity downstream. The Atmospheric River Control Spillway, or ARC Spillway, is in the final stages of design and Yuba Water is actively seeking funding partners for this project that has significant regional benefits. 

In addition to discussing the need for continued investments in flood risk reduction, Yuba Water’s board committed funds to several additional local projects. 

Yuba Water approved a $3 million line of credit for Reclamation District 817 to cover contractor and construction management costs related to the Bear River Setback Levee in advance of the district receiving reimbursement from the California Department of Water Resources’ Flood System Repair Program, which funded 90 percent of the project.

Additionally, the board approved a no-interest line of credit worth up to $645,358 for the Camptonville Community Services District to support an ongoing water well development project to ensure water supply reliability in the Yuba County foothills. Yuba Water’s line of credit will improve their ability to obtain reasonable bids for the construction phase of the new well while they await reimbursement from the state. This project is also being funded by DWR.

Lastly, the board approved a grant worth up to $8,000 for the Yuba County Mounted Sheriff’s Posse to upgrade a well that is intended to provide water at the Browns Valley emergency large animal shelter.

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