2015: Another Amazing Year for the Yuba

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As we venture forward into 2016 and bid farewell to 2015, we would like to share some of our
accomplishments from 2015. SYRCL had a great year working towards a better future for the Yuba.
Please check out the 12 months of SYRCL, showcasing just a few of our 2015 highlights.

January

JanuaryThe 2015 Wild & Scenic Film Festival took place January 15-19 in historic Downtown Nevada City and Grass Valley, California. This five-day affair attracted films and folks from around the world. It raised funds, supported local businesses in a traditionally slow time of year and, most importantly, raised awareness and inspired activism for environmental causes and SYRCL’s campaigns. General consensus from feedback indicated that the 2015 festival was one of the best yet. Read More…

 

For the films, the Wild & Scenic Film Festival is just the beginning. Over the past 13 years SYRCL’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival has evolved into the largest environmental film festival in North America.  The annual event each January kicks-off WILD & SCENIC ON TOUR to over 140 cities around the globe. Each Wild & Scenic On Tour event partners with an environmental group, nature center, nonprofit, museum, university, etc. to produce the event as a way for the organization to reach out to their community and bring people together, using film to inspire activism. Read More…


February

FebruaryThe SYRCL River Science program kicked off the New Year the SYRCL way—with a restoration project! And it was a huge success. On January 26, SYRCL volunteers and staff worked in collaboration with Shady Creek Outdoor School and NCCC AmeriCorps to remove a dense patch of Scotch Broom from the Shady Creek Outdoor School grounds. The weather was perfect and we had a very fun and productive day! Read More…

 


SYRCL submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
regarding the Final Environmental Impact Statement on proposed licenses for two large hydropower projects in the Yuba watershed. The projects, owned by the Nevada Irrigation District (NID) and PG&E, include dams which divert 70% of stream flow from the South and Middle Yuba Rivers to generate electricity and supply water to southern Nevada and Placer counties. SYRCL has been engaged in the process of relicensing these projects so that new licenses will minimize impacts to the river’s health and provide enhancements for people and native species using the river. Read More…


March

March3Twenty-three teams of Nevada County’s brightest showed up for the 14th Annual Brains of Nevada County Quiz Night. Nearly 200 participants survived ten rounds of truly challenging trivia. Every March, Quiz Night helps to raise money for the Laura Wilcox Scholarship Fund. So far, fourteen $4,000 scholarships have been awarded to local students. Funds raised through Quiz Night continue to provide Nevada County youth with a lasting gift in honor of Laura Wilcox. Read More…

 

SYRCL announced the first of its cannabis workshops. On March 21st, the public is invited to attend “Growing Green for the Yuba,” SYRCL’s daylong informational workshop, to learn from local and regional experts about practices for cultivation that will safeguard the Yuba watershed. The presenters addressed a variety of topics including water management systems, soil health and nutrient use, pest management and alternative energy. The workshop included two panel discussions focused on “Local Growers Issues” and “Local Grow Shop Issues,” including local and statewide regulations and products that are available locally. Read More…


April

AprilNearly 200 engaged community members attended SYRCL’s State of the Yuba event on Earth Day. With standing room only, SYRCL staff reported on the condition of the Yuba River during this unprecedented drought, the status of Yuba River hydropower project relicensing, and invited Yuba-lovers to get involved as advocates and hands-on volunteers. Read More…

 

 

SYRCL received $567K in funding from CDFW to study carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas benefits of mountain meadow restoration within the Yuba watershed. Grant funds are being allocated over a five-year period to restore Deer Meadow, in the Grouse Lakes area, and Bear Trap Meadow, located in Sierra County in the headwaters of Chapman Creek, a tributary of the North Yuba River. SYRCL has also been monitoring changes in carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions at these and three other meadows in the Tahoe National Forest. Read More…


May

MaySYRCL kicked off its 15th year of river monitoring with new projects and volunteer opportunities in Loney and Deer Meadows, as well as revisiting previous projects at Hammon Bar and Butcher Ranch Meadow. Each year, SYRCL’s dedicated volunteers commit their time to our River Restoration program. Together, we have planted thousands of trees on the Lower Yuba to improve salmon habitat, removed hundreds of conifers from mountain meadows to improve aspen stands, measured thousands of aspens to assess regeneration, and removed invasive Scotchbroom. Read More…


SYRCL volunteer lent support to California Senate Bill 350.
On April 7, Peter Burnes traveled to Sacramento to attend the California Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee hearing on SB 350 where other supporters of the bill included a broad coalition of environmental justice and environmental protection organizations and alternative energy companies. SYRCL was joined by fellow partners in the California Hydropower Reform Coalition (CHRC), including American Whitewater, Friends of the River, and CalTrout. Read More…

 


June

JuneIn June, Earthwatch Institute and SYRCL formed a partnership to create a new citizen science program called Sierra to Sea. Together, we began conducting meadow assessments and contributed to statewide greenhouse gas emissions work. The goal of this continuing program is to acquire data that will feed directly back to scientists and land managers in support of Sierra Nevada meadow restoration, protection, and management. The Sierra to Sea Program also helps to support SYRCL’s work monitoring greenhouse gas emissions. Read More…

 

SYRCL made the call for an open, science-based process to restore wild salmon. In May, the SYRCL Board of Directors unanimously voted to express concerns with and opposition to the process underway to implement a “trap and haul” program to transport salmon to and from the North Yuba River in trucks for the next fifty years. Read More…

 

 

After just five weekends on the river, SYRCL’s phenomenal River Ambassador team had already spoken with over 1,300 South Yuba River visitors about the polluting impacts of trash and dog waste, the dangers of broken glass, and the catastrophic potential of wildfire. This dedicated group of 32 volunteers and three River Captains worked hard to promote an ethic of responsible, non-polluting use of the river by speaking one-on-one with visitors at Bridgeport, Highway 49, Purdon and Edwards crossings each weekend through August. In addition to providing information to visitors about threats to the Yuba, volunteers would model good stewardship practices by picking up and cataloging the waste found on the beaches and trails. Read More…


July

JulySYRCL, The Sierra Fund and the Wolf Creek Community Alliance joined forces to make local lakes and reservoirs a little safer. Families fishing in the Yuba and Bear watersheds now have easy access to information about which fish are safe to eat at over 28 lakes and reservoirs. On July 11, 19 volunteers traveled to popular fishing locations and posted 98 fish consumption advisory signs. This was the first time these state-issued fish consumption guidelines had ever been posted at these water bodies. Anglers now have the information they need to make smart decisions on what fish are safe to eat and feed to their families. Read More…


The Fourth of July holiday weekend was a good reminder of the power of the River Ambassador team, as well as the work that we have ahead of us.
With thousands of visitors flocking to Bridgeport and Highway 49 crossings to celebrate, Ambassadors had their busiest weekend yet connecting with over 500 people about the importance of good stewardship practices and fire safety. While walking the jam-packed beaches at Bridgeport and boulder-hopping at Highway 49, volunteers and SYRCL staff picked up trash and handed out bags to those that needed them. As people saw their peers cleaning up, even more came forward to ask for trash bags so that they could do the same. Read More…


August

AugustOn August 11, Trey Sherrell, Environmental Scientist with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (CVRWQCB) visited Nevada City to discuss future regulations as part of the Conditional Waiver for Medicinal Cannabis Cultivation. Mr. Sherrell joined SYRCL, Emerald Growers Association (EGA), and Americans for Safe Access – Nevada County (ASA-Nevada County), in seeking community feedback regarding the development of a conditional waiver of waste discharge requirements (permits) for the region. Read More…


Two new staff members joined the team.
SYRCL and the Wild & Scenic Film Festival welcomed Amelia Workman as the new On Tour Associate Director. She is working with partner organizations to spread the Wild & Scenic spirit across the globe. SYRCL’s River Science department also welcomed Heather Kallevig as the new River Education Coordinator. Heather is now leading SYRCL’s efforts to educate people of all ages to be informed and passionate stewards of the Yuba watershed. She is coordinating SYRCL’s school assembly programs, salmon rafting and walking trips, Wild & Scenic student and children’s sessions, and high school summer programs. Read More…


September

SeptemberSYRCL said farewell to three AmeriCorps Volunteers. Suzanne, Karl, and Svetlana graced the watershed with their hard work, smiles, and dedication to cleaning-up, monitoring, and restoring the Yuba River. SYRCL staff came to depend on them and are still grateful for the lasting impact of their work. Read More…

 

 

This year, an historic number of volunteers participated in the 18th Annual Yuba River Cleanup. On Saturday, September 19th, 761 volunteers cheerfully removed approximately 13,282 pounds of trash and 1,591 pounds of recyclables from 86.35 miles of river, creek and lake shoreline. This year’s event had 26 cleanup spots where participants removed garbage and litter; including a refrigerator, television set, washing machine and dryer. Volunteers also cleaned up four restoration locations where the focus was restoring natural habitat by removing invasive species including blackberries and star thistle. Read More…


October

OctoberIn addition to the historic numbers of volunteers, local youth came out in full force to clean up the Yuba. SYRCL and the local community gathered together to show their Yuba Love by cleaning up the river and its surrounding areas in the 18th Annual Yuba River Cleanup. This yearly event attracts people of all ages to come and support the Yuba by hauling away garbage, large and small, and restoring important areas of habitat. Families, business teams, school and youth groups all joined together to get their hands dirty for the health of our watershed. Read More…


SYRCL publicized U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ solicitation of public comments.
The Army Corps come to town to solicit public input about the “Yuba River Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study” and SYRCL took the opportunity to encourage the public to attend and comment. Staff collected written comments from the public. Read More…

 

 


November

NovemberMore than 600 participants experienced SYRCL salmon tours in 2015. Each year between October 15th and November 15th, SYRCL invites participants of all ages to hike or raft on the Yuba River and learn about the Chinook salmon, the ecology of the area, and the historical impacts of hydraulic gold mining. SYRCL River Education staff work together with an active group of volunteer naturalists, talented guides from Environmental Traveling Companions and H20 Adventures, and other valuable community partners to host the seasonal trips. Read More…

 

Our 15th year of citizen-science driven river monitoring came to a close. The River Monitoring program has been connecting community members to the river since 2000 with hundreds of river monitors trained and sent out across the watershed to collect data. This year, 47 active volunteer River Monitors collected valuable, scientifically credible information at almost 40 adopted sites throughout the watershed.  Our volunteer River Monitors donated over 1500 hours to the effort of collecting data on the health of the watershed! Read more…


December

DecemberSYRCL celebrated its first “Teen Naturalists for Salmon” tours. This exciting new program is the first of many upcoming opportunities for high school students to take on leadership roles in SYRCL-led environmental education and activism. In preparation, the teens took part in rigorous training, mastered curriculum and then spent several school days on rafting tours and hiking trips using what they learned to teach local youth about the Yuba Chinook salmon. Read More…

 


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers heard from SYRCL’s coalition and members when over 60 members of the public provided written comments
in support of meaningful actions to benefit the Yuba River. SYRCL prepared and submitted a letter on behalf of twelve conservation and fishing organizations that came together with a single voice to suggest to the Army Corps and the Yuba County Water Agency methods to conduct the Feasibility Study. Read More…

 

 

 


 

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