Braving the Snow in Yuba Headwaters for River Monitoring

With this sunny weather, it may be hard to imagine our headwaters still socked in snow. Just a few weeks ago, many river monitoring sites were inaccessible. Last March, one group of very dedicated volunteers made quite an adventure out of getting to their upper South Yuba River monitoring locations.

Vic Scott, a returning citizen-scientist volunteer for SYRCL’s River Monitoring program, braved the snow-pack with fellow volunteers March 11. Our first monitoring day of 2017 was a smashing success, due to the enthusiasm (and safety precautions) of 37 volunteer monitors. Get a peek into Vic’s adventurous day from his story below!

Kathy Scott supporting her husband, Vic, as he ventures to sample the South Yuba River headwaters

“We all thoroughly enjoyed our first River Monitoring day of the season. With the conditions being an unknown considering this year’s snow pack, the Langs Crossing team (Diane Virva) joined the Upper Castle Creek/Headwaters team (Dan Chaplin, Kathy & Vic Scott) in testing this month to ensure our safety. All went well, and no one fell in the river! We made sure we brought a sample pole, which we normally don’t need at the Headwaters, and a sturdy line for additional safety. Snowshoes were required at both Upper Castle Creek and the Headwaters and we all benefited from the exercise.

The usual testing position for Site 40, Upper Castle Creek, is directly under the railroad bridge near where Castle Creek enters Van Norden Meadow. We found the normal area under the bridge nearly full with snow forcing us to test a little ways upstream. The Headwaters site sported a 10+ foot wall of snow above the water. The pole was definitely a necessity and we barely reached the water to grab test samples.”

Upper Castle Creek, site 40, comparing February 2016 (left) and March 2017 (right)

SYRCL’s River Monitoring program is still looking for office and field volunteers! Want to explore our watershed while collecting valuable water quality data or help at the office for monitoring preparation? Contact Anna Schwyter, River Monitoring Coordinator, at anna@syrcl.org or 530-265-5961 x213.

 

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