A new biomass facility near Camptonville is one step closer to becoming a driving force in ensuring a healthy forest with the help of a $186,500 grant from Yuba Water Agency.
This funding will help the Camptonville Community Partnership wrap up the remaining tasks required to secure a power purchase agreement with PG&E - a contract between an electricity generator and a power purchaser.
“Biomass is a hot topic at all levels of the state right now and we are really focused on that as a possible way to help spark further forest management work to reduce fire risk, support our watershed and help the state’s energy needs at the same time,” said Yuba Water Agency Vice-Chairman Randy Fletcher. “Getting to this power purchase agreement is a major milestone that we can help them achieve.”
The planned Camptonville facility will be a three megawatt bioenergy plant within the Yuba Watershed, and will use woody biomass material from sustainable forest management projects to generate electricity, further creating a regional market for forest waste material or otherwise hazardous fuels.
“We can do all the forest restoration work that we want, but there must be an outlet for that material that is economically viable,” said Regine Miller, bioenergy project manager for the Camptonville Community Partnership. “We believe that our community-scale bioenergy facility can be an outlet for that material.”
Creating a market for that woody material is expected to spark more sustainable forest management projects, reducing forest fuels and minimizing the threat of catastrophic wildfire.
Forest management activities spawned by the development of the bioenergy facility will provide benefits far beyond the primary goal of reducing wildfire risk. Additional benefits include: forest health and diversity, watershed protection, increased water yield, sustained water quality, safer communities, improved air quality, job creation, local economic development and much more.
Next steps for the bioenergy project include, drilling wells and analyzing water quality, completing grid interconnection studies and required permitting, creating a regional Yuba forest collaborative and project management and outreach.
Yuba Water Agency help MPD purchase Drones
The Marysville Police Department will be able to more efficiently organize and monitor emergency and rescue operations with the help of a grant from Yuba Water Agency.
The $5,000 grant, approved today by the agency as a part of the Bill Shaw Rescue Equipment and Training Grant Program, will help the police department purchase two unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred to as drones, as well as applicable pilot training and Federal Aviation Administration licensing fees.
The drones will be used to monitor levees and survey the Yuba County area during flood events, evacuations and other emergencies, making it possible to quickly identify the most critical areas in need of emergency response.
“This kind of equipment could be a game changer for how Marysville plans for and executes emergency evacuations and emergency response,” said Mike Leahy, the Yuba Water Agency director and county supervisor whose territory includes the city of Marysville.
“With all of the past high water events, this equipment will greatly affect levee patrols by increasing our visibility of the water side of the levee system. This equipment will also be able to assist first responders on conditions of evacuation routes,” said Christian Sachs, Marysville Chief of Police.
The drones will also be used to gather data to create detailed maps indicating the inhabited areas most likely to be impacted from the consequences of floods.
This is another agency to benefit from Yuba Water Agency’s Bill Shaw Rescue Equipment and Training Grant Program, which was created in January, 2018. These grants are designed for first responder agencies in Yuba County and will cover the one-time costs of up to $5,000 per applicant annually, associated with the purchase of rescue equipment or specialized personnel training. The grant program was the idea of, and is named after, an employee who survived a potentially life-threatening injury, and who was extremely grateful for the emergency responders who helped save him.