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The Yuba Water Agency Board of Directors approved today more than $2.2 million for local and regional improvement projects. The funding will contribute to repairs at Ellis Lake and roads around New Bullards Bar Dam and Reservoir, support local irrigation districts with environmental planning, design and permitting costs, and advance fish habitat restoration while reducing flood risk on the Yuba River.
“The board’s actions today are an example of what’s possible with the right local, regional and state partnerships,” said Yuba Water Board Chairman Randy Fletcher. “The projects not only advance our core mission areas, they also support our local farmers and the betterment of our communities and environment in actions large and small.”
Reflecting its continued commitment to improving conditions for Chinook salmon, steelhead and other native species while also reducing flood risk, the agency awarded more than $1.6 million to Teichert Aggregates to complete the first of a four-phase, multi-agency project to restore 157 acres of fish habitat in the lower Yuba River. The project includes 89 acres of restoration created by the removal of 1.8 million tons of rock, sediment and other debris to create both year-round and seasonally flooded food-rich fish-rearing habitat. The debris removal, roughly equivalent to 1.8 million pick-up truck loads, will also reduce flood risk by lowering water surface elevations and flow velocities during flood events.
The Phase 1 restoration work is part of the agency’s early implementation of voluntary agreements proposed as part of the State Water Resources Control Board’s Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan update. Yuba Water has applied for grant funding to cover all but $150,000 of the remaining work on Phase 1 of the project.
As part of its regional watershed management approach to benefit both people and the environment and to further improve water supply reliability, the board agreed to grant $150,000 toward the cost for two of its irrigation district partners – Hallwood and Cordua – to redesign and permit an existing system that returns fish from the districts’ fish screen back into the Yuba River.
To ensure Yuba Water employees have reliable access to the agency’s facilities around New Bullards Bar Dam and Reservoir, the board also approved a $347,210 grant to cover Yuba County’s local match portion of the cost to repair sections of county roads that suffered extensive damage during 2017 storm events.
Lastly, a $40,000 grant was awarded to the City of Marysville to cover the cost of repairing the fountain at Ellis Lake, which will improve water quality in the lake through fountain flows. The grant is the latest effort in our partnership with the city to explore long-term solutions for restoring the lake to the community asset that it once was.
Photo: An aerial view of the Hallwood Side Channel and Floodplain Restoration Project along the lower Yuba River. By Doug Handen