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The Yuba Water Agency is a stand-alone public agency governed by a board of 7 elected officials to serve the people of Yuba County. Established by a special act of the California State Legislature in 1959, the agency’s primary missions are flood risk reduction, water supply, fish habitat protection and enhancement, hydroelectric generation, and recreation.
Yuba Water Agency was established in 1959 to reduce flood risk and provide a sustainable water supply to the people of Yuba County. Yuba County has historically endured devastating floods, due in part to Gold Rush era hydraulic mining practices that washed millions of cubic yards of debris into the Yuba River, raising the riverbed and increasing the flood risk.
As gold mining gave way to farming and ranching, water users south of the Yuba River over-drafted the aquifer, causing dramatic declines in groundwater levels. To resolve these problems, Yuba Water Agency proposed the Yuba River Development Project, a multipurpose flood control, water supply and hydropower generation project, which was approved in 1961. In 1966, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a license for the project, and Yuba Water Agency completed construction in 1970.
Yes, you can find meeting agendas, minutes and supporting documents for Board of Directors and other committees on BoardDocs.
Yes. You can learn more about our flood management efforts in the Flood Risk Reduction section.
For the last 50 years, the Yuba Water Agency has flown under the radar, largely unnoticed by the public. We are in a position to make a significant impact in the lives of the people of Yuba County that could truly transform this community for the better. And yet, we found that many Yuba County residents had not heard of us, or if they had, they weren’t sure what we did. Many residents confused us for a department within the government of Yuba County. We wanted to minimize confusion about who we are and what we do, so we dropped county from the name, to make it easier to stand out as a separate government agency. At the same time, we wanted to make sure that our image is one that people can easily connect with and identify out of the sea of government agencies and organizations that people come into contact with on a daily basis.
No, the legal name of Yuba County Water Agency will stay the same. While the new brand and logo identify the organization as the Yuba Water Agency, it is primarily to simplify and clarify the community’s understanding of who we are and what we do. On all legal documents, we still refer to ourselves as the Yuba County Water Agency.
Each year, Yuba Water Agency invests millions of dollars into projects to further our primary missions of reducing flood risk and ensuring a sustainable water supply for Yuba County. In addition, we provide many grants to a number of organizations and projects that are related to our mission areas, to provide local resources and support community development and improvement projects. We also make significant financial investments to improve the natural fisheries of the Yuba River, and to educate the public about water and fisheries issues.
Just a few recent examples of contributions made by Yuba Water Agency include the following:
Moving forward, Yuba Water Agency will continue to provide grants, supplies and other funding for a number of local projects and programs within our mission areas. Currently, Yuba Water's board is committed to dedicating up to $10 million each year for this purpose, above and beyond our primary missions.
The Anadromous Fish Restoration Program aims to double the natural production of anadromous fish (fish that spend their adult life in oceans and return to the rivers to reproduce) like Chinook salmon and steelhead. The lower Yuba River can host up to 20 percent of all salmon spawning in the Sacramento River tributaries, but these emerging young fish face many challenges reaching the ocean. The primary focus of this project is to enhance productive juvenile salmonid rearing habitat, to allow juvenile fish to grow larger prior to their migration to the ocean, which will increase their chance of returning as adults. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is funding the design and implementation of the Hallwood Project.
The floodplain surrounding the more than three miles of perennial side channels and four miles of seasonal side channels will inundate continuously for several weeks approximately every two years with shallow slow water favorable for juvenile salmonids. Groundwater-fed perennial side channels will stay connected all year, while seasonal side channels will inundate with typical spring flows to provide off-channel rearing habitat for juvenile salmonids.
The project will improve more than 170 acres of seasonally inundated riparian floodplain habitat for numerous riparian tree species, and the host of aquatic and terrestrial organisms that reside in these habitats. This project increases the connectivity of these habitats for a healthier, more productive river system; a resource benefit to the public for purposes such as aesthetics and recreation.
Pre-project monitoring began in 2014. Following that, snorkel surveys were conducted and macroinvertibrates (aquatic bugs) and water temperature were monitored from 2014 - 2016. Riparian vegetation composition and recruitment, and dissolved oxygen and turbidity grab measures were performed in 2016. Pre-project monitoring studies designed to compare fish health in off-channel habitat to the main channel, using juvenile outmigration and predation experiments, were performed in spring 2016. As part of implementation, physical and biological variables such as these will be monitored into the future to assess the project's effectiveness and learn lessons for future projects like this in the Central Valley.
This is the first project of its kind on the Yuba River, but similar actions have been take on other rivers in California. For example, on the Merced River, floodplain grading to create spawning habitat has led to high levels of spawning and floodplain utilization by juvenile salmonids. Additional projects on the Trinity, Stanislaus and American rivers have also improved main channel, off-channel and floodplain habitats for salmonids.
Our new Power Systems facilities will be located at 8897 Marysville Road in Oregon House, between the post office and the Alcouffe Center. The new site is about eight and a half miles up the road from our current building at the end of Lake Francis Road.
Our existing Power Systems administration building is the old Colgate Powerhouse built in 1950, which was modified into office space after the New Colgate Powerhouse was completed in 1970. The old powerhouse was never meant to accommodate a large staff or have the capability to work as a corporation yard. Yuba Water needs a bigger, more modern building to accommodate the current and projected growth of our operations and staff.
Its centralized location between New Colgate Powerhouse and New Bullards Bar will reduce drive times to the agency’s other facilities, as well as improve security and safety by reducing the amount of traffic on the narrow, steep road that is used to access the current administration building, mechanics shop and powerhouse.
The new property will encompass six acres and include a 14,000-square-foot administration building, warehouse, mechanics shop, covered equipment storage, 80-ft communications tower, 150,000-gallon fire water tank, laydown yard, parking and more.
Yes! The new building will have a conference room available for public use that can accommodate up to 100 people. Additionally, a school bus stop located on Marysville Road adjacent to the property will be significantly improved to ensure families can safely pick up and drop off students. The new bus stop will include a protected turnout, a crosswalk and lighting for improved safety.
Yuba Water has allocated $39.5 million for the project and awarded the construction contract to Hilbers, Inc. The budget includes the construction contract, project management and inspection services.
The two-year project is expected to break ground in summer 2023, with completion by mid-2025.
We expect to maintain some of the offices and maintenance space at our old building. However, we are still exploring the best use of the old facility.
Yuba Water Agency's Procurement and Purchasing Department manages bids for various types of services, commodities and public works projects. Additionally, purchasing handles the agency's surplus and credit card programs (CalCard), and manages facilities development and maintenance of non-hydro facilities.
Bid postings and RFPs
It is a program created in 1983 that allows local agencies to perform public project work up to $45,000 with its own workforce if the agency elects to follow the cost accounting procedures set forth in the Cost Accounting Policies and Procedures Manual of the California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Commission. The Uniform Public Construction Cost Accounting Act is enacted under Public Contracts Code Section 22000 through 22045. For additional information visit http://www.sco.ca.gov/ard_cuccac.html.
Insurance requirements will vary depending on the work being provided. Standard policy coverage limits are:
- General liability: $2,000,000 per occurance and $5,000,000 aggregate
- Automobile: $2,000,000 per accident
- Employer's Liability: $1,000,000 per accident
- Professional Liability: $1,000,000 per claim
- Workers Compensation requirements are set by statutory limits
Yuba Water Agency’s voluntary agreement includes a commitment to collaboration, increased flows, funding, fish habitat improvements and the development of a river science program meant to contribute to the recovery of fish and wildlife species in the Bay-Delta ecosystem. It is an important element of a broader, collaborative approach to improving fish and wildlife habitat in the Bay-Delta ecosystem.
As Yuba Water Agency has proven over more than ten years, since the successful and continuing implementation of the award-winning Yuba Accord, collaborative agreements are more sustainable, innovative and result in actual improvements more than controversial regulatory requirements do. Regulatory requirements also are often limited in approach and get tied up in court for decades. When parties focus on interest-based negotiations and allow science to lead the way to determine the best path forward, the results can provide more meaningful solutions for California’s economy and environment. Water supply reliability for the benefit of Yuba County farmers and residents is the agency’s top priority in both Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensing and in this voluntary process. Implementation of the Voluntary Agreement will ensure that Yuba Water is able to both maintain our water supply reliability as well as provide better environmental benefits than alternative proposals.
Yes. The State of California is leading this collaborative effort, which includes the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Water Resources, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, as well as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and local water agencies from across the state. Water agencies on the American, Feather, Sacramento and Yuba rivers all signed the MOU which includes provisions that are based on the unique situations in their watersheds.
The State Water Resources Control Board is updating the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan to protect beneficial uses, including native fish and wildlife, as well as municipal and agricultural water supplies. Yuba Water will be working with other parties to build on the Voluntary Agreements framework detailed in the MOU so they can be incorporated into the process for updating the Bay-Delta Plan and implemented in full.