BRI acts as the Right of Way Department for the Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority (TRLIA). TRLIA is a JPA agency between RD 784 and Yuba County. TRLIA is tasked with identifying and constructing the levee improvements necessary to meet FEMA certification for 200 year flood protection. Upon completion of the project, the lands affected by the levee system will be eligible for remapping by FEMA. A minimum of 100 year flood protection is required for a waiver of the flood insurance requirement. As such, the goal is to exceed the minimum protection required by FEMA. Currently, there are well over 250 affected parcels located in a flood hazard zone. Those parcels are subject to the same potential levee breaks that led to the devastating floods of 1986 and 1997.
BRI was able to acquire the necessary rights to begin the construction of a portion of this $250 million levee project within 4 months of an approved contract. We did this by focusing first on the parcels with the longest lead times. Through our analysis, we determined that permanent rights would be required from only 7 parcels. We prioritized those parcels, completed the appraisals, presented the First Written Offers, and negotiated with the property owners. Upon impasse, BRI worked closely with the TRLIA Board to present the Resolutions of Necessity to the TRLIA Board, and provided support to the legal team to receive 3-day orders of possessions from the courts for the project.
The third phase of the project included a setback levee and purchasing roughly 760 acres of agricultural land from 4 property owners for project mitigation/restoration lands. The appraisals for the properties included a detailed analysis of the highest and best use for the property, effects of the project on the farming operations, and detailed discussion of the crop damages. The acquisition included relocation of 4 residential displacees and the sale of a mobile home.
This project was #4 on the International Right of Way Association’s list of Top Ten Projects of the Year for 2013. It was recently written up in their Right of Way magazine. Read it here.