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Auburn, Calif.- In the aftermath of the massive King Fire, the Placer County Water Agency is taking emergency steps to prevent and manage the runoff of fire debris and erosion into the Rubicon River and PCWA’s Ralston Afterbay.

In a report Thursday (Nov. 20) to the PCWA Board of Directors, Engineering Services Manager Jeremy Shepard outlined the effort that is being mobilized in advance of winter rains.

He said there is high potential for debris from the steep Rubicon River canyon to wash down the river into Ralston Afterbay where there is a strong possibility of impacts to water storage and hydroelectric power production.

While the U.S. Forest Service is planning some erosion control in the area, PCWA is activating a three-part effort to protect Ralston Afterbay, Shepard said.ย ย  It includes log booms to trap and divert debris that flows into the reservoir, grappling equipment to remove floating debris, and equipment on Ralston Dam to steer floating logs through the gates of the dam without damaging it.

Additional longer-term efforts are being planned to remove sediment that is expected to deposit on the floor of the afterbay.

The debris management effort is being undertaken by Syblon Reid Contractors of Folsom, hired under a $400,000 emergency contract.ย  Shepard said the firm is mobilizing this week and will be prepared to operate next week.

The King Fire burned 97,000 acres of Sierra watershed Sept. 13 through Oct. 9.ย  About 40,000 of these acres are along the Rubicon River watershed, a source of the PCWA Middle Fork American River Project.

In other business, PCWA directors:

  • reviewed and hosted a public hearing on the agency’s proposed $108 million budget for 2015.ย  The overall budget includes an Agency Wide operating budget of $2.2 million, Power Division operating budget of $23.5 million, Water Division operating budget of $39.8 million and Combined Capital budget of $42.5 million.ย  Board Chairman Joshua Alpine continued the public hearing and budget review until Dec. 8, when final budget consideration is anticipated.

PCWA board meetings are open to the public.ย Information on PCWA board meetings may be obtained through the Clerk to the Board at (530) 823-4850 or (800) 464-0030.

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