Setback levee provides 200-year flood protection to residents of South Yuba County

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SACRAMENTO, CA, Feb. 18, 2010 -- GEI Consultants Inc., one of the nation's leading geotechnical, environmental, water resources, and ecological science and engineering firms, announced today that the Feather River Setback Levee project has been recognized by the Sacramento Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) as the 2009 Flood Control Facility Project of the Year. Located in South Yuba County, California, and owned by the Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority (TRLIA), the Feather River Setback Levee is the longest setback levee in the state.

The six-mile long setback levee, which was developed and constructed to provide 200-year flood protection to more than 40,000 residents in South Yuba County, was largely financed through State Proposition 1E Early Implementation Project funds. A key component in TRLIA's $405 million levee improvement program, this project will lower water elevations by more than a foot during significant flood events, easing pressure on both the Yuba and Feather River Levees and providing increased flood protection to the cities of Marysville and Yuba.

This flood control project opened approximately 1,600 acres of additional land for expanded floodway and ecological habitat restoration, and it represents a key step toward achieving TRLIA's goal for Yuba County to be the first urban area in the Central Valley to offer 200-year flood protection.

"GEI has done a wonderful job of helping us quickly implement the strongest flood protection in the Central Valley," said Paul Brunner, TRLIA's Executive Director.

GEI Consultants' role included a feasibility evaluation and the geotechnical investigations for this project, in addition to the preliminary and final designs of the setback levee. GEI provided construction management services, secured the required environmental permits, provided support for right-of-way acquisitions, and designed a floodplain swale. The swale mitigates potential fish stranding and increases the frequency of floodplain inundation to gain associated ecosystem benefits.

"This is such an important project for South Yuba County from a safety, economic and environmental perspective," said Alberto Pujol, PE, vice president and project manager for GEI Consultants. GEI was also the prime consultant for TRLIA on the completed Bear River Setback Levee, which won ASCE awards from the Sacramento Section in 2007 and Region 9 (all of California) in 2008 as the Flood Control Facility Project of the Year. "We are proud to be on the winning team for a second year, and we are grateful for the collaboration and support received from all parties involved."

The project team included:

  • Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority -- Overall Project Leadership and Management
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers -- Federal Project Oversight and Permitting
  • California Department of Water Resources -- State Project Oversight and Funding
  • The Central Valley Flood Protection Board - Permitting
  • Yuba County - Funding
  • Reclamation District 784 -- Funding and Levee Maintenance
  • Yuba County Water Agency -- Funding
  • Local Landowners -- Funding
  • Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California -- Most Likely Descendent (MLD) as designated by the California Native American Heritage Commission
  • GEI Consultants Inc. -- Project Design and Construction Management
  • EDAW -- Project Environmental
  • Teichert Construction Company -- Levee Construction
  • MBK Engineers -- TRLIA Program Management and Project Hydraulics
  • Bender Rosenthal Inc. -- TRLIA & Project Real Property
  • EPS Associates -- TRLIA Financial Management
  • The Handen Company Inc. -- TRLIA Construction Management
  • PBS&J -- TRLIA Environmental Management
  • MHM Engineers and Surveyors -- Surveys and Pump Station Design
  • Downey Brand Attorneys LLP -- TRLIA Legal
  • Kim Floyd Communications -- TRLIA Public Relations

The annual ASCE awards dinner was held on Feb. 17, 2010.

About Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority
The Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority, a joint powers agency, was established in May 2004 by the county of Yuba and Reclamation District 784 to finance and construct levee improvements in South Yuba County. Four work phases were identified with the goal of achieving 200-year flood protection for more than 40,000 residents and nearly $1 billion in property and structures. For more information, please visit

About GEI Consultants Inc.
GEI's multi-disciplined team of engineers and scientists deliver integrated geotechnical, environmental, water resources and ecological solutions to diverse clientele nationwide. The firm has provided a broad range of consulting and engineering services on over 25,000 projects in 50 states and 22 countries. For more information, please visit the firm's web site at


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