By Kelly Ryan

YUBA CITY (CBS13) – Bullards Bar Reservoir is a popular spot about 30 miles northeast of Yuba City near the town of Dobbins in Yuba County.

New Bullards Bar Dam is a variable radius concrete arch dam in California on the North Yuba River. Located near the town of Dobbins in Yuba County, the dam forms the New Bullards Bar Reservoir,

“It’s the best-kept secret around. It’s great recreation,” says Curt Aikens, General Manager of the Yuba County Water Agency.

It was after the floods of 1997, when the agency went to work trying to identify a way to lower the flood threat from releases on New Bullards Bar Dam. It now says that can be accomplished by adding a second spillway.

When a heavy storm moves over the reservoir, it fills up and releases have to be made dictated by Army Corps of Engineers.

“The secondary spillway will simply allow us to release more water earlier, saving more space in the reservoir to take that peak flow and reduce it downstream,” Aikens said.

By creating more space he adds, peak flow is reduced thereby reducing the stress on the levees protecting residents.

“There’s great regional benefits. The benefits in Yuba City are comparable to Marysville since they are right across the river,” Aikens said.

Officials also point out the new secondary spillway will be built in a way that avoids the crisis Oroville Dam faced in February of 2017, when it’s main spillway failed, forcing nearly 200,000 residents to evacuate and costing more than $800 million dollars in damages.

“If you had a problem with the primary one it would allow you take the flow off that and maybe go and do some inexpensive repairs, then you could resume both spillways if needed,” Aiken said.

Agency officials say the secondary spillway comes in at the lowest cost both financially and environmentally with permitting and design running about $11 million. The actual cost of construction on the spillway estimated to be around $160 million.

Official expect work to begin on the second spillway in 2022.

The Yuba County Water Agency says no local taxpayer money is being used to fund the second spillway, only state and federal funds.


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