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Posted on: December 19, 2023

Yuba Water reinvests hydropower revenue back into Yuba County through grants

An aerial photo of a levee with a river on its left in the midst of farmland.

Yuba Water Agency today approved nearly $25 million in grants and one cash-flow loan for two dozen multi-year projects in Yuba County as part of its Community Impact Grant and Loan Program. The agency also approved a separate $10.4 million grant to Yuba County to help the county leverage additional external funding for several local public works projects.

“Our biggest investment today is in flood control,” said Yuba Water’s general manager Willie Whittlesey. “And, while we now have the revenue from our hydropower operations to reinvest more broadly into our community in other areas like water education and water supply reliability, and we’re proud to do that, flood risk reduction is at the heart of why we are here. And these grants reflect that.”

Below is a summary of Yuba Water's Community Impact Grant and Loan Program grant recipients and amounts awarded.

Community Impact Grant and Loan Program awards

A significant portion of the community impact grants, nearly $19 million, will go toward levee and other critical flood risk reduction infrastructure improvements along the Feather River, Bear River and Dry Creek in Yuba County.

  • Reclamation District 784: $9.1 million for critical drainage improvements along the Feather River
  • Reclamation District 10: $7.8 million to improve the stability of a 2.5-mile stretch of levee along the Feather River north of Marysville
  • Reclamation District 2103: $1 million to design a levee improvement project along part of Dry Creek in southern Yuba County
  • Reclamation District 817: $975,000 to evaluate flood risk deficiencies along parts of Dry Creek and the Bear River

In addition to making substantial investments in flood risk reduction, Yuba Water committed more than $5.3 million for water supply projects that benefit both foothill and valley water users. The agency also approved a cash-flow loan to the Camptonville Community Services District.

  • Hallwood Irrigation Company: $2.4 million to upgrade aging water conveyance infrastructure to reduce seepage and improve efficiencies
  • North Yuba Water District: $1.6 million to help line 9,500 feet of irrigation canals, significantly reduce leaks and water loss
  • Dry Creek Mutal Water Company: $500,000 to install water meters
  • City of Marysville: $300,000 for ongoing water quality treatments at Ellis Lake
  • EA Family Services: $150,000 to restructure the septic system at Lake Francis Resort (Yuba Water owns Lake Francis)
  • Camptonville Community Services District: $227,058 cash-flow loan to start work to replace a chlorine contact tank and associated treatment plant upgrades while the district awaits reimbursement from the state

The agency also awarded grants related to improving the resilience of the Yuba River watershed and local emergency preparedness. 

  • Yuba Watershed Protection and Fire Safe Council: $325,000 will help the council reestablish and manage its Home Resilience Program, including a defensible space program for foothill residents
  • The Sierra Fund: $325,000 for hydraulic mine restoration work
  • Yuba County Office of Education: $32,417 will equip the district with emergency response equipment
  • Linda County Fire: $7,967 for repairs to its Zodiac rescue boat

Bill Shaw Rescue Equipment and Training Grants Program awards

Yuba Water awarded five Bill Shaw Rescue and Equipment Grants totaling $50,000. 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 related to rescue equipment or specialized personnel training connected to Yuba Water's missions.

  • Dobbins Oregon House Fire Department: $10,000 for water rescue equipment
  • Linda County Fire: $10,000 for drysuits, water shoes and personal flotation devices
  • Foothill Fire: $10,000 for self-contained breathing apparatus cylinders, which help protect firefighters’ lungs during firefighting
  • Loma Rica Browns Valley Community Services District: $10,000 for communication equipment upgrades
  • Olivehurst Fire: $10,000 for portable radios and related communication equipment

Additional funding support for Yuba County drainage, water distribution and river access work

Lastly, Yuba Water committed a separate $10.4 million grant to Yuba County for drainage improvements in Linda and Olivehurst, a water distribution project in the Gold Village/River Highlands community and a river access project at Star Bend on the Feather River. The funds from Yuba Water are expected to leverage approximately $16.8 million in additional external funding for the projects.

Yuba Water’s Board of Directors has committed to investing $10 million a year into community programs and projects that align with the agency’s core mission areas with a goal of improving the quality of life for the people of Yuba County. Community Impact Grant and Loan Program applications are accepted twice a year, in March and September.

Non-profits, tribes and other government agencies can apply for grants to fund projects or programs that directly connect to our missions of flood risk reduction, water supply and management, watershed resilience, water education and water conservation.

Although this year’s total grant awards exceed the agency’s $10 million target, many projects are multi-year efforts. Yuba Water will distribute the grant funds over several years.

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