Yuba Goldfields 100-year flood risk reduction project named outstanding small project of the year
The American Society of Civil Engineers Sacramento Section this week named the Yuba Goldfields 100-year Interim Flood Control Project the winner of the 2017 outstanding small – less than $5 million – project of the year award.
Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority’s interim flood risk reduction project, done in partnership with Yuba County and the Yuba County Water Agency, among others, reduces flood risk for the communities of Linda, Olivehurst and Plumas Lake from flood waters exiting the Yuba Goldfields during a 100-year or greater flood event.
“The Goldfields 100-year Interim Flood Control Project is a creative solution in a very dynamic environment involving active mining,” said Paul Brunner, executive director of TRLIA. “We used local funds to design the project, obtain environmental clearances, and negotiate agreements with the local mining companies to allow project construction on their properties, and to construct the project expeditiously to meet Federal Emergency Management Agency accreditation requirements.”
The Yuba Goldfields is an area located along the south side of the Yuba River at the northeastern end of Reclamation District 784 in Yuba County, and is a site used for mining. Following a hydraulic evaluation in 2010, and as a result of the decades of extensive mining, an area along the southern embankment was identified as being susceptible to overtopping and breaching during a 100-year or greater flood event and was considered an unacceptable flood risk.
To address the immediate 100-year flood risk, TRLIA and other stakeholders including YCWA, Yuba County, RD 784, the California Department of Water Resources, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA and three mining companies, developed an interim embankment to be constructed using the dredge tailings – a mixture of cobble, gravel and sand – from the local mining operations to form a barrier.
“This collaborative effort resulted in a very low-cost project that was constructed quickly to significantly reduce flood risk for several southern Yuba County communities,” said YCWA General Manager Curt Aikens.
As a result of using the on-site material donated by the local mining companies, the 10,000 foot embankment was constructed in three months by moving 260,000 cubic yards of existing dredge tailings, at a cost of approximately $600,000.
The interim 100-year embankment will be in place until a solution that meets the criteria for 200-year levees can be implemented.