Grass Valley OKs contract for Peabody Creek project |

Grass Valley OKs contract for Peabody Creek project

Peabody Creek runs through Grass Valley neighborhoods and Condon Park.
Photo by Laura Petersen

The main phase of a creek restoration project got a green light recently when the Grass Valley City Council approved a nearly $400,000 contract to reconnect Peabody Creek to its natural floodplain.

Initial work on the tributary, which cuts through Condon Park and eventually feeds into Wolf Creek, began in 2016. Late that year volunteers from Wolf Creek Community Alliance, American Rivers and the Sierra Native Alliance, along with students from the Nevada Union Key Club, cleared invasive species like blackberry from the site and planted over 100 native plants.

Peabody Creek’s headwaters are located on the property off Alta and West Main streets that is proposed to become the Gilded Springs development. On the other side of West Main Street, its natural course was channelized and diverted from its original floodplain when Scotia Pines was built.

“When that housing subdivision was put in, the grade was too level,” explained Josie Crawford of Wolf Creek Community Alliance. “Also, the culvert (under Walsh Street) was too small.”

Those issues caused continued flooding, Crawford said.

The first phase of the project was funded by a $342,499 grant from the California Department of Water Resources, with $70,000 in matching funds from Grass Valley. The second phase was funded by a grant awarded in 2017, of $555,817 from State Water Resources Control Board’s Storm Water Grant Program. Grass Valley is providing $40,000 in matching funds.

The project will put in an additional culvert, Crawford said. That will restore the waterway to the natural flood plain and make its grade steep enough to properly drain, she said.

At the City Council meeting on July 23, City Manager Tim Kiser noted the project includes the installation of the new drainage culvert and the restoration of a half-acre of riparian habitat through the replacement of invasive vegetation with native plants.

The project was sent out to bid last year, but the bids came in too high, Kiser said. The scope was redesigned and sent out again this year, with bids due July 19. The low bidder was Empire landscaping, with a bid of $380,930.

“We’re hoping to move this project through fairly quickly, because the window for replanting is in fall,” Kiser said, adding the city wants the project completed before winter.

The council voted unanimously to award the contract to Empire Landscaping, subject to the completion of the legally mandated bid protest period.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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