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Scotts Flat project walk is rescheduled to Friday morning due to weather forecast

The guided walk to tour Nevada Irrigation District’s Scotts Flat Forestry Project site has been rescheduled due to weather forecasts of snow tonight and tomorrow. The walk, initially scheduled for Thursday morning, will take place at 10 am on Friday, Feb. 23.

The public is welcome to join the walk, which will begin at Gate 1 at the Scotts Flat Campground at 10 am.

The Scotts Flat North Forestry Project will remove fire fuels and harvest merchantable timber on the north shore of Scotts Flat as identified in the District’s 2013 Timber Harvest Plan (THP). The project will primarily target Campgrounds 1 and 2 while treating adjacent NID property for fire reduction. Work has been ongoing for a couple of weeks.



Board Meeting Wrap – Feb 14, 2018

NID won’t appeal rating of state funding application for proposed Centennial Reservoir; environmental report work to begin on Hemphill Diversion Structure

Grass Valley, CA – The Nevada Irrigation District (NID) Board of Directors voted to not appeal a rating of its Centennial Reservoir Project application for state funding, and also authorized a contract for environmental reporting work on the Hemphill Diversion Structure replacement project during its Feb. 14 meeting.

Present were President William Morebeck, Vice President John H. Drew, and Directors Nancy Weber, Nick Wilcox and Scott Miller.

The Board unanimously approved a request by the Foothills Water Network to not appeal the public benefit ratio scores on the Centennial Reservoir Project application to the California Water Commission. A recent state review gave low scores to the District’s application for state money to help fund the proposed project. In other NID Board matters, the Board unanimously authorized a $228,000 contract with Helix for California Environmental Quality Act work on the Hemphill Diversion structure replacement. Read more here.

The General Manager reported district water storage is 234,727 acre-feet, which is 140 percent of maximum capacity or 87 percent of average for the water year.

The next regular meeting of the NID Board of Directors will be held at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018 at the NID Business Center located at 1036 West Main Street, Grass Valley. NID Board meetings are open to the public.

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Contact: Susan Lauer (530) 271-6735 ext. 335

Water line breaks on Sapphire Drive in Auburn

News Release

Feb. 14, 2018

Contact: Susan Lauer

(530) 271-6735 ext. 335


A main water line on Sapphire Drive in the Auburn Greens subdivision in Auburn burst at approximately 1:00 pm Wednesday afternoon. The break caused a water outage to about 80 dwellings.

A Nevada Irrigation District crew has responded and is conducting repairs. Those repairs are anticipated to be completed by 5:00 pm on Wednesday. Sapphire Drive near Quartz Drive is closed while repairs are ongoing.

Thank you for your patience during this time.

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Nevada Irrigation District Spending Authority Amount Clarification

News Release Feb. 8, 2018

Contact: Susan Lauer

This is a clarifying note; the Nevada Irrigation District General Manager has spending authority in the amount of $100,000 per Board policy. The Administrative Practices Committee has spending authority up to $250,000, and the Board of Directors has spending authority on amounts of $250,001 and above.  All transactions are reviewed by the Board monthly and District expenses are reviewed quarterly.

We at NID take every effort to ensure our community has the most accurate information regarding the activities of the District.


NID surveys indicate mountain snowpack at 33 percent of average

News Release Feb. 5, 2018

Contact: Susan Lauer

The mountain snowpack holds 33 percent of average water content, based on the latest snow survey by the Nevada Irrigation District (NID).

NID snow surveyors measured snowpack depth and water content on five snow courses ranging in elevation from 4,850 feet to 7,800 feet on Jan. 31. The average water content for the five highest elevation snow courses was measured at 6.8 inches, which is 33 percent of the 20.6-inch average for this time of year.

The snow surveys showed NID’s highest course, Webber Peak, at 7,800 feet, had 33.7 inches of snow with a water content of 12.6 inches. The English Mountain snow course (7,100 ft.) had 24 inches of snow with a water content of 7.3 inches. Webber Lake (7,000 ft.) had 21.9 inches of snow with a water content of 7.1 inches. Findley Peak (6,500 ft.) had a snowpack of 13.3 inches and a 3.6-inch water content. Bowman Reservoir (5,650 ft.) had 13.3 inches of snow and a 3.6-inch water content.

At the lower division Chalk Bluff snow course (4,850 ft.) on the Deer Creek watershed, snow surveyors measured 12.5 inches of snow with a water content of 2.5 inches (the Chalk Bluff numbers are not included in the average).

“Even though the overall precipitation total is near average, the storms we have received have not produced much snow which is evident in the latest results,” said NID’s Water Resources Superintendent Sue Sindt. “There is still time for this to change and see an improvement in the snowpack.”

Fortunately, due to last year’s abundance of precipitation, NID has above average water in storage: “This will help buffer impacts if the rest of the winter is dry,” Sindt said.

NID’s 10 reservoirs are currently storing 232,800 acre-feet of water, which is 86 percent of capacity and 141 percent of average for this date. The district’s storage capacity is 265,280 acre-feet (an acre-foot is one acre covered one foot deep).

Seasonal precipitation at Bowman Lake as of Jan. 31 equaled 36.28 inches, which is 96 percent of average. Yet, the depth of snow only was 13.3 inches.

A member of the California Cooperative Snow Survey, NID conducts three official snow surveys each year in February, March and April. Results of the snow surveys are used to predict water availability locally and statewide.




NID responds to tanker explosion to protect water source and watershed

News Release

Feb. 2, 2018

Although there is no indication fuel or oil reached the Bear River, the Nevada Irrigation District (NID) continues to monitor water flows for possible contaminants following a Jan. 31 fatal head-on collision between a tow truck and a tanker truck that occurred on Highway 20, west of Interstate 80 near Bear Valley.

The accident caused an explosion, fire and diesel fuel spill near the river. NID crews promptly responded on site along with first responders. While most of the tanker fuel was consumed by the explosion and fire, emergency crews were concerned that fuel-laden runoff could reach the Bear River, which is largely controlled by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and NID delivery flows. As a precautionary measure and at the request of California Fish and Wildlife, PG&E ceased water deliveries into the Bear River and Drum Canal.

NID helped to provide emergency spill equipment, including temporary floating barrier booms used to contain spills and concentrate oil in layers so that it can be safely collected and removed. The absorbent booms were placed along the roadside drainage and in multiple locations along the Bear River.

There has been no indication at this time that any fuel or oil entered the Drum Canal or the Bear River. NID crews will continue to monitor and assess water quality over the next week to ensure the water within the Bear River remains safe.

“At this point there is no indication that fuel contamination is making its way down the Bear River. However we will continue to monitor water quality in the area until the cleanup reaches a point where the spill no longer poses a threat. Our commitment is to our water source and protection of the watershed. My condolences go out to the families of this tragic accident,” said Chip Close, NID Water Operations Manager.







Contact: Susan Lauer



NID receives award for excellence in financial reporting

Grass Valley – For the second year, Nevada Irrigation District has received the Excellence in Financial Reporting by Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR).

Earning the award is recognition of NID’s continuing efforts to deliver exceptional quality service and financial openness.

“The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management,” noted the GFOA in its notification to the District.

NID’s CAFR has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the report.

NID is proud to accept the Award of Financial Reporting Achievement from GFOA, a major professional association servicing the needs of nearly 19,000 appointed and elected local, state and provincial-level government officials and other finance practitioners. The association is headquartered in Chicago.

Read more about NID’s financial policies and practices here.


NID’s CAFR team: (seated left to right) Greg Jones, Debbie Martin, Nancy Alstrand, and (standing left to right) Miranda Guidera, Desiree Ince, Cheryl Harris, JR Lewis and Marvin Davis.


Jan. 26 Friday morning Scotts Flat project walk will continue; second walk planned

Jan. 26

Contact: Susan Lauer

(530) 271-6735 ext. 335

Despite the recent weather and poor driving conditions near Scotts Flat, Nevada Irrigation District (NID) will continue with the project walk this morning at 9:00 am beginning at Gate 1, Scotts Flat Campground.

We understand some may not be able to attend this morning’s walk.  We will soon schedule a 2nd opportunity to walk the project as the weather and road conditions improve.

The Scotts Flat North Forestry Project will remove fire fuels and harvest merchantable timber on the north shore of Scotts Flat as identified in the District’s 2013 Timber Harvest Plan (THP). The Project will primarily target Campgrounds 1 and 2 while treating adjacent NID property for fire reduction.  As part of our implementation activities, we will be walking the project beginning at Gate 1, Scotts Flat Campground.  We welcome property owners to join the District during this site walk to provide any feedback to the District or to ask questions.

NID ready to test public schools for lead contamination under new law

News Release

Nevada Irrigation District (NID) is ready to assist local schools under a new law that requires water utilities to complete lead sampling of drinking water supplies of public schools built before 2010.

The new sampling requirement took effect Jan. 1, when Assembly Bill (AB) 746 became law under the jurisdiction of the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board), which oversees water quality throughout the state.

At District cost, NID will sample for lead in drinking water at public schools – kindergarten through high schools – as well as day care and preschools on public school properties within its service areas. The testing will be completed by July 1, 2019.

If a school’s lead level exceeds 15 parts per billion (ppb), then NID must take a sample of water entering the school to help determine the possible lead source.

Primarily, lead in drinking water comes from materials used in water service lines and home plumbing. For more information on the Lead Sampling in Schools Program and information on AB 746, visit the State Water Board’s webpage here.

NID treats and distributes more than 2.5 billion gallons of surface water each year. This water originates in the Sierra Nevada snowpack and is routed through Lake Spaulding and transported to the District’s water treatment plants.

NID routinely tests its own systems to ensure the highest quality drinking water. Read annual water quality reports here.

Elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body.

Contact: Susan Lauer

(530) 271-6735 ext. 335


Loma Rica Reservoir cleanup creates more water capacity for community and fire use

                                                                     Jan. 18, 2018

Contact: Susan Lauer


A large-scale effort to remove sediment from the Loma Rica Reservoir has reclaimed lost water storage of about 12,000 cubic yards of material. That means NID has regained water storage of about 2.4 million gallons (or 7.4 acre-feet) that can be used for community supplies.

Just east of Nevada County Air Park, the reservoir stores raw water delivered through the Cascade Canal and the 48-inch diameter Banner Cascade Pipeline from Deer Creek to the Loma Rica Water Treatment Plan. It also is a supply route for the Chicago Park Canal for raw-water customers, although it is not directly connected with any local creeks nor does it discharge to any natural water bodies or streams.

In addition, the Grass Valley Air Attack Base uses reservoir water to mix retardant dropped by tankers dispatched from the local airport to fight wildfires regionally and around the state. Last year NID contributed 1 million gallons of water to the air attack base free of charge as part of its community firefighting support. For comparison, it takes 660,430 gallons to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

In previous years, NID has contributed the following amounts of water to the county’s Air Attack Base:

  • 2016 – 714,000 gallons
  • 2015 – 871,420 gallons
  • 2014 – 878,900 gallons

When first constructed in the early 1960s, Loma Rica Reservoir had a capacity of 31.6 million gallons (96.9 acre-feet). Since then, silt and vegetation growth has significantly decreased that overall capacity.

NID Directors authorized a $200,000 contract with Lorang Brothers Construction of Colfax on Oct. 25, to clean out the reservoir with assistance from NID maintenance workers.

Heavy metals mercury and arsenic related to past gold mining activities plague much of the county’s waterways. Sediment often carries these hazardous waste metals through streams which are then deposited in lakes and reservoirs. Because the Loma Rica Reservoir receives water from man-made canals and upper country water sources, it was anticipated that these heavy metals would not be at levels indicating past mining activities.

“It is anticipated that heavy metal concentrations associated with sediment that will be removed during this project will approximately the same as background soil levels typically found in non-mining associated soils in Nevada County,” noted the project’s negative declaration document from 2013.

That indeed was the case, based on soil testing of removed sediment in November. Samples were collected and analyzed by BSK Associates Laboratory for toxics, including arsenic and mercury. The firm conducted soil testing from 10 different sites. The tested samples indicated mercury was ND or “Non Detect.” This means that mercury was not detectable at the legally reportable limit of .50 mg/kg, which is the best possible result.

“Thus, we tested and no issues were present other than normal, clean dirt for the area,” said Gary King, NID’s engineering manager.

The Loma Rica cleaning effort is an example of how NID is committed to finding ways to optimize capacity of its existing infrastructure in order to ensure a resilient water supply for its customers now and into the future.



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