Yuba County, Calif. invests $9M to reduce flood risk

Nov. 3, 2022
Yuba Water is providing a $9 million grant to support a series of levee improvements, which enhance flood protection for Plumas Lake, Arboga, Linda, and Olivehurst.

California’s Yuba Water is providing a $9 million grant to support a series of levee improvements in South Yuba County to enhance the area’s flood protection.

“Reducing flood risk for the people of Yuba County is not just one of Yuba Water’s core mission areas; it is foundational for our communities to continue to grow and thrive,” says Gary Bradford, Yuba Water Agency board chairman. “Yuba Water is happy to support this work to continue to reduce flood risk in Yuba County and the broader region.”

The Yuba Water Agency Board of Directors approved the grant on Nov. 1. The funding could potentially leverage state and federal dollars for a total investment of $41.6 million.

The grant will help complete the design and implementation of a Climate Resiliency Project and to prepare a feasibility study for a multi-benefit project in an area of the lower Yuba River known as the Goldfields.

Upon realization of all state and federal funding, the money will be used to complete design and implementation of the Climate Resiliency Project, which will create a uniform level of protection for Plumas Lake, Arboga, Linda, and Olivehurst. Those areas are currently certified at the 200-year level of protection for the state. This project will increase that level significantly and, when combined with Yuba Water’s planned Atmospheric River Control Spillway at New Bullards Bar Dam, the area could potentially see up to a 500-year level of flood protection.

A 200-year level of flood protection is the state’s current standard in the urban areas of the Central Valley. A 500-year level of protection would be the highest in the state.

The planned Goldfields Multi-Benefit Project Feasibility Study will investigate alternative solutions to replace an embankment in the Goldfields. The existing embankment is in an area that is not a permanent solution but is under a current 10-year license agreement. The Goldfields Multi-Benefit Project Feasibility Study will seek to define alternative permanent solutions to reduce flood risk for South Yuba County.

Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority will combine the Yuba Water grant funding with approximately $3 million in state funds from the Disaster Preparedness and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2006 (Proposition 1E) to complete the design work and feasibility stud. The authority also plans to pursue the remaining construction costs from Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities grant program.