The Lower Yuba River once supported a thriving ecosystem with a braided channel system that supported an abundant fish population and habitat for wildlife. During the Gold Rush era, hydraulic mining sediments flooded the ecosystem, covering habitat under tons of sediment. Later, dredger mining reworked that material and created a channelized river system with levees to protect downstream communities from flooding. In 1941, Englebright Dam was constructed, permanently restricting fish passage to the upper watershed and altering flows in the lower watershed.
Today, The Goldfields, over 10,000 acres of reworked hydraulic mining sediment from the upper watershed, and impaired flows slows the recovery of riverine habitat, threatening Chinook and steelhead populations. SYRCL is working with federal and state agencies, local landowners and governments, non-profit organizations, consulting firms, and scientists to restore the Lower Yuba River to improve ecosystem health and to directly benefit our salmon populations.