Annual Yuba River Cleanup & Restoration Day

670 volunteers participate in 17th Annual Yuba River Cleanup & Restoration Day

Enthusiastic volunteers at Highway 49 Bridge (Photo: Jeff Litton)

Enthusiastic volunteers at Highway 49 Bridge
(Photo: Jeff Litton)

670 volunteers came out last Saturday and removed over 15,000 pounds of trash and recycling from 81 miles of river, creek and lake shoreline at 33 sites within the Yuba River and Bear River watersheds. “From the upper reaches of the watershed to the riverbanks of the Lower Yuba—this year’s Cleanup was a phenomenal success,” said Jenn Tamo, SYRCL’s Stewardship Coordinator and newly appointed River People Manager. “Hundreds of volunteers teamed up together to scrub a collective 81 miles of river free of litter, waste that would have otherwise polluted our waterways and washed downstream. Leaving no stone unturned, folks braved the wildfire smoke to scour beaches and trails for hidden garbage!” Last Saturday, September 20th, the South Yuba River Citizens League coordinated its Annual Yuba River Cleanup & Restoration Day. Ranging in ages from a hearty 80 to only 6 months, and coming from as far away as Berkeley and even Massachusetts, volunteers came to help with the River Cleanup and restored six acres of land by removing invasive vegetation like Scotch Broom and blackberry. Some of the more interesting items found on Saturday included a friends wallet, a boxing glove and 50 pounds of lead bars. At Bridgeport, volunteers uncovered an archeological site containing old bottles, metal and even a rusted shotgun. Archeologists from State Parks will investigate the find.

Some of the heroic efforts included

  • Volunteers at Foote's Crossing ferrying trash across the Middle Yuba River (Photo: Tom Weistar)

    Volunteers at Foote’s Crossing ferrying
    trash across the Middle Yuba River
    (Photo: Tom Weistar)

    Ferrying debris from an abandoned mining camp across the Middle Yuba River at Foote’s Crossing in rafts by 23 volunteers.

  • Three intrepid snorkelers dived deep into the pools at Bridgeport and Highway 49 to recover shoes, water bottles and many small pieces of plastic.
  • 10 volunteers located at the Independence Trail worked with Bear Yuba Land Trust and South Yuba River Parks Association to remove the decking surrounding an old and rotted out building.
  • Volunteers, led by members of the Wolf Creek Community Alliance, spent the morning removing 1,000 pounds of trash from Idaho Maryland Road along Wolf Creek.

Community Gathering at Bridgeport fun for all

Adult male Stone Skipping Contest winner, Dylan Gadd,with the winning throw of 21 skips! (Photo: Jeff Litton)

Adult male Stone Skipping Contest winner,
Dylan Gadd,with the winning throw of 21 skips!
(Photo: Jeff Litton)

Smiling faces were abundant at SYRCL’s post-Cleanup celebration on the beach of the South Yuba River State Park at Bridgeport Crossing. Volunteers celebrated in the sun and feasted on a free BBQ lunch. Local singer Ishaan Judd shared his original melodic harmonies about the Yuba River. Nevada County Supervisor Hank Weston praised attendees for their volunteerism and dedication to the watershed. This year’s 4th Annual Stone Skipping Contest was another huge success. An enthusiastic crowd gathered around as contestant’s vied for this annual title. Judges counted every stone’s plink, plonk, pitty-pat and gerplunk. In the men’s division, with a throw of 21 skips and a combined score of 87, Dylan Gadd was this year’s winner. In the women’s division, Laura Rohrsen won with a throw of 12 skips and a combined score of 46. In the In the youth division, Austinn Peters won with a throw of 9 skips and and combined score of 29.

River Ambassadors praised for third year on the river

SYRCL also honored the volunteer River Ambassadors at the celebration. The River Ambassador program, now in its third year, brings volunteers to popular river crossings of the Yuba to speak face to face with visitors about stewardship. River Ambassadors spoke one-on-one with 6,799 local and out-of-town visitors at Highway 49, Bridgeport, Edwards and Purdon crossings on the South Yuba River this year. Over the past three years River Ambassadors have spent 2,700 hours on the Yuba speaking to 13,577 people and removing 14,176 pieces of trash and dog waste.


Volunteers gathered at Bridgeport to celebrate a job well done. (Photo: Jeff Litton)

Volunteers gathered at Bridgeport to
celebrate a job well done.
(Photo: Jeff Litton)

These programs are designed to keep the Yuba healthy, clean and safe year round, and they have real costs. SYRCL needs the community’s help to keep them going. It costs $28,000 annually to organize and implement the Cleanup, and another $23,000 for the River Ambassador program. That is why SYRCL started the Clean-a-thon. By Saturday, the Clean-a-thon had raised an astounding $16,547.

Over 5 acres restored

Restoration volunteers at Oregon Creek removed 3 acres of Scotch broom. (Photo: Kathy Van Zuuk)

Restoration volunteers at Oregon Creek removed
3 acres of Scotch broom.
(Photo: Kathy Van Zuuk)

Volunteers don’t just remove trash and recycling. SYRCL’s restoration projects took place at five locations this year where volunteers removed highly invasive non-native species such as Himalayan Blackberry, Yellow Star Thistle, and English Ivy from more than six acres at Bennett Street Meadow, Edwards Crossing, Jones Bar, Kentucky Creek and Oregon Creek. Also, Students from Grass Valley Charter School removed blackberry vines from Bennett Street meadow in Grass Valley on State Parks land.


SYRCL would like to thank the over 30 agency, school and organization partners that help make the Cleanup such a success every year: Bear River Key Club, Wolf Creek Community Alliance, Bear Yuba Land Trust, Champion Mine Homeowners Association, Army Corps of Engineers and Skippers Cove Marina, Synergia and Finding the Good, California State Parks- South Yuba River State Park, Sierra Nevada Group of the Sierra Club, Camptonville School, Gold Country Fly Fishers, Friends of Purdon Crossing, Truckee Donner Land Trust, Grass Valley Charter School, City of Grass Valley, Donner Summit Area Association, South Yuba River Park Association, California State Parks Foundation, Nevada County Free Range Beef and Haute Trash. The buffet lunch was provided courtesy of the following generous donors: Carl’s Junior, Caroline’s Coffee, Emily’s Catering and Cakes, Flour Garden Bakery, Harmony Ridge Market, Indian Springs Organic Farm, Johansen Ranch, Mountain Bounty Farm, SPD, Matteo’s Public, Safeway, Save Mart, BriarPatch, Raley’s, Sweet Roots Farm, and Summer Thymes Bakery and Deli. Agency and Business Support with Trash and Recycling: Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, California State Parks, California Transportation Department (Yuba County and Nevada City), City of Grass Valley, Nevada Irrigation District, Soda Springs General Store, U.S. Forest Service, and Waste Management.

Sponsorship Opportunities:

Click 2014 Cleanup Sponsorship Opportunities for information on sponsorship opportunities and benefits.

Past Cleanup Statistics:

Click here for the past 17 years of cleanup data To read about the history of SYRCL’s river clean up days and the importance of this project, click here!


Jenn Tamo, River People Manager, (530) 265-5961, ext. 201; Andrew Collins-Anderson, River People Coordinator, (530) 265-5961 ext. 203;

Caleb Dardick, Executive Director (530) 265-5961, ext. 207;


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