The Butte County Sheriff’s Office awarded a contract in late 2016 to Advanced Marine for the removal of debris from the Feather River, near Oroville, CA. The funds were obtained through grant funding from the California Division of Boating & Waterways SAVE program. This program provides local public agencies with grant funding to remove, reduce and prevent abandoned recreational vessels and marine debris from navigable waterways. Several submerged vehicles in the Feather River were deemed marine debris that posed a substantial hazard to navigation and the environment.
“The river is a common dumping area for stolen vehicles and vehicles involved in fraudulent insurance claims”, said deputy Scott Krelle, of the Butte County Sheriff’s Marine Enforcement Unit.
In the planning stage, logistical challenges, such as adequate private property access and working in significantly increased river flows, as the result of the recent deterioration issues at the Oroville Dam, had to be overcome. For river access routes, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office provided their OH-58 helicopter for several reconnaissance overflights.
In June 2017, Advanced Marine, working in cooperation with the Butte County Sheriff’s Office marine unit and Browers Towing, from Oroville, CA, successfully completed the removal of four of five of the target vehicles. The fifth vehicle had apparently been carried downriver with the high water flows, and was not located.
Advanced Marine president, John Shaw, said, “This project successfully eliminated significant hazards to the boating and recreational public, and removed sources of environmental contamination from California’s beautiful waterways.” Mr. Shaw went on to add, “This was a team effort. Working with the dedicated professionals from the Butte County Sheriff’s Office marine and aviation units, as well as the staff from Browers Towing, made this project seem easy.”