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Posted on: June 18, 2019

Yuba Water Agency, community partners spark excitement with plans for local water experience center

Lower Yuba River with lupines on the bank

A state-of-the-art education facility and programming focused on the Yuba River as the foundation for the experience is closer to becoming a reality after Yuba Water Agency’s board of directors today unanimously approved moving forward with the next stages of planning and development. 

The overarching goals of the Yuba Watershed Experience are to improve Yuba County’s quality of life and economic prosperity through enhanced education, and spark community pride while creating opportunities to learn about, explore and develop an appreciation for the natural resources in this region. 

“With this project, we are dreaming the way the founders of our agency dreamed when they built New Bullards Bar Dam 60 years ago,” said Yuba Water Agency board chairman Brent Hastey. “This facility may very well turn out to be the most impactful thing we can do to truly transform Yuba County for the better.”

Yuba Water Agency is currently partnering with the Yuba County Office of Education, Yuba Community College District, South Yuba River Citizens League and the Yuba River Endowment to plan and develop the Yuba Watershed Experience program and center. The advisory group has met several times and toured similar facilities, such as Sonoma Water’s Westside Water Education Center. 

The educational goals of this center are to enhance educational opportunities for the residents of Yuba County, with curriculum opportunities in science, technology, engineering, art, math, environment, culture and history, without creating resource or funding constraints for the schools.

The programs and facility will target audiences including K-12 schools, college students, as well as career preparatory programs. The K-12 programs will be taught by certificated teachers, and will be designed to meet California’s curriculum standards to ensure that they assist the schools in programming and ease the burden on the teachers.

“The information students will learn at the education center will be so impactful that it will trickle down through many generations,” said Amy Nore, communications coordinator for the Yuba County Office of Education. “I feel this will continue to be a blessing to Yuba County as it inspires our children to gain a sense of pride and connection to our community. Our hope is that as our students turn into adults, they might have a stronger desire to live and work in Yuba County.” 

The next steps are to evolve the concept further by reaching out to community partners and educators to further understand needs and how to best accomplish collective educational goals. And while the water education facility concept is in its infancy, the hope is to be able to bring water-related programming into local schools immediately. 

“When we participate in the future, and invest in our community and our children’s future, we can’t lose,” said Yuba Water Agency Director Mike Leahy. 

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