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Posted on: June 16, 2020

Yuba Water funds levee improvements and conservation projects, says farewell to longtime GM

A photo of general manager Curt Aikens

Yuba Water Agency’s Board of Directors today committed $785,000 for levee improvements, water conservation and other Yuba County water projects in support of its core mission areas of flood risk reduction and sustainable water supply management.

Yuba Water awarded two levee improvement grants to Reclamation Districts 784 and 2103, which maintain levees along the Yuba, Feather and Bear rivers in Yuba County. A $650,000 grant for RD 784 will fund the replacement of a critical storm drain pipe along the Horseshoe levee area near Dry Creek. An $80,000 grant for RD 2103 will cover the cost of evaluating the Grasshopper Slough Levee in southern Yuba County in an effort to secure Federal Emergency Management Agency accreditation. If accredited, the change will significantly reduce flood insurance premium costs for a specific area of homes in Wheatland currently considered to be in a special flood hazard zone.

Additionally, Yuba Water approved a $50,000 grant to replace manual toilets, sinks and dispensers in Yuba County’s facilities as part of its water conservation program.

The agency also renewed its commitment of $5,000 to District 10’s Wild Duck Egg Salvage Program, which rescues wild duck eggs from flooded rice fields before they’re destroyed by heavy farm equipment during harvest. Farmers flood the fields rather than burn them because of the harm burning does to air quality. As an added benefit, the flooded areas create waterfowl habitat. During its 27 years of operation, the program has rescued more than 38,000 duck eggs and educated the public about waterfowl habitat in the region, including its significance as part of the Pacific Flyway.

The board today also recognized General Manager Curt Aikens for 22 years of service to the agency. Aikens will step down as general manager next month and focus on special projects ahead of his January 2021 retirement.

“The agency would not be where it is today without Curt’s leadership,” said Randy Fletcher, the agency’s board chairman. Fellow board members echoed Fletcher’s praise of Aikens, commending him for his trailblazing natural resource management and his creation of a culture of partnership and innovation at the agency.

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