More than 40 people from half a dozen local agencies came together this week to practice flood fighting techniques in Yuba County ahead of what is forecast to be another wet winter.
“We take very seriously our responsibility of operating these local levees – which are stronger than ever – and staying current on flood fighting techniques is an important part of preparedness,” said Patrick Meagher, general manager of Reclamation District 784, which manages levees around Linda, Olivehurst and Plumas Lake and coordinated the training with the California Department of Water Resources’ Flood Operations Center. “It’s also a great opportunity to reconnect with other local agencies, which helps strengthen these partnerships ahead of high-water events.”
The day-long training covered general flood fighting techniques used during high-water events and floods. Attendees learned how to create wave wash protection, which helps prevent erosion when river waters are high on the levees, how to combat levee boils and how to effectively fill and place sandbags.
“While we rely on the experts to handle and oversee levee protection, the Yuba County Office of Emergency Services aims to keep our staff in a state of readiness, and this annual training helps with just that,” said Oscar Marin, the county’s OES manager.
Participants represented Reclamation District 784, Yuba Water Agency, Yuba County Office of Emergency Services, Reclamation District 1001, Levee District 1, Marysville Levee Commission and the Plumas Lake community.
Levee and reclamation districts in Yuba County provide protection through a system of levees on the Yuba, Bear and Feather rivers. Six local districts are responsible for maintaining levees and pumps and conducting routine levee maintenance, including vegetation, erosion and rodent control, and slope and patrol road maintenance. Some work, like levee patrol and flood fighting may include volunteers.
Yuba County’s last major flood was in January 1997. The flood was caused by two levee breaks in Arboga on the east bank of the Feather River. Two people died in the flood and nearly 1,000 homes were lost or damaged.
“We’re doing everything in our power to reduce the risk of flooding to our communities,” said Sami Nall, flood risk reduction project manager with Yuba Water Agency. “That’s why we continue to invest in levee improvements and emergency preparedness, to make sure we’re ready when the next big storm comes through.”
Yuba Water has leveraged tens of millions of dollars in local funding to secure more than $600 million in state and federal investments to significantly improve more than 50 miles of levees along the Yuba, Feather and Bear rivers. Yuba County has also invested $500 million over the last decade in flood protection and levee improvements in the area. Today, Yuba County’s levees are among the most modern in the state.Learn more about Yuba County’s local levee and reclamation districts here.