Bear River Projects
The Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority (TRLIA) is a joint powers authority with the mission of advancing the flood safety of southwestern Yuba County, California. TRLIA’s member agencies include Reclamation District (RD) 784 and the County of Yuba. The southwestern portion of Yuba County is subject to seasonal flood threats from many rivers and creeks, including the Yuba River, Feather River, Bear River, Western Pacific Interceptor Canal (WPIC), and tributary drainages. Because of this flood risk, many local rivers have been confined by constructed levees. Most of the current levee systems in Yuba County were built during the 1920s using construction practices of that era.
TRLIA has setback the levee on the lower Bear River in order to increase the floodway capacity. This has provided significant opportunities to enhance the ecological values of the project through restoration of native habitats in the levee setback area, complemented by native habitat restoration in the adjacent existing floodway area. The entire project consists of 695 acres. Of that, 395 acres are in the levee setback area and 300 acres are in the existing floodway. Walnut orchards and other row crops were removed prior to planting in the fall of 2006. Numerous plant community-types were planted, including native grasslands. Mitigation areas were also created for the Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle and Swainson’s hawk. The floodplain of the setback area has been reconnected to the Bear River by way of a constructed swale on the lower portion of the site. This will prevent fish entrapment on the floodplain after a high-flow event. Once fully restored, this project will potentially provide important habitat for many riparian-dependent wildlife species.
For more information, contact Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority.