Preparation work underway for Colusa boat ramp

The first phase of the long-anticipated Colusa Boat Ramp project is underway, city officials announced on Thursday.

City workers were out at the project site last week clearing brush and trees in preparation for the ramp’s construction.

“Although it’s sad to see some trees gone, the end result will be very positive for the community, and trees will be planted elsewhere on the property,” Mayor Greg Ponciano said in a statement. “Also, all memorial benches have been preserved and will be upgraded and relocated upon completion of the project.”

The project – more than 10 years in the making – was most recently delayed in October 2017, when high river levels the previous winter washed away large amounts of sand at the proposed location, requiring a change in the design plans for the boat ramp. City Manager Jesse Cain said at the time that because a contract was never officially awarded for the boat ramp, he planned to go back out to bid in February, and to have all the permits and a contract in place and ready to go by May 15.

Cain has come pretty close to meeting that deadline: The city sent out a request for proposals on April 11, and held a non-mandatory pre-bid meeting on May 1. The bidding was closed on Tuesday morning, after which the bids were opened and read. The council is set to approve a contract with one of the bidders at an emergency meeting tonight. If all goes according to plan, the City of Colusa should have its new boat ramp in place by October 9.

“If everything goes well – I have to get the contract to the Department of Boating and Waterways to be approved before we can issue a notice to proceed – if that happens, we will actually start construction on June 11,” Cain said. “If everything goes well before 120 days is up, then we’ll be launching boats.”

The project was also delayed in the summer of 2016, when the general area around the proposed boat launch facility was identified as a potential habitat for the Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo – a species of bird classified as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. While there was no evidence that the birds were actually there, Bryan Stice, city planner, said that the city had to prepare as if they were. As such, work needed to start on removing trees at the project location by June 15, when the birds are known to start nesting, which is why city workers were out there last week, Cain said. ■

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Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net