Twelve Months of Yuba Watershed Success

As we step into the new year, we would like to take a moment to reflect on SYRCL’s accomplishments in the Yuba watershed from this past year.

SYRCL had a busy year building a better future for the Yuba and Bear Rivers. We have been working on forest health and meadow restoration in the upper Yuba, improving salmon conditions in the lower Yuba, advocating to Stop Centennial Dam on the Bear River, and expanding our efforts to keep the watershed clean and healthy. 

Check out these highlights from the last 12 months and how our work has impacted our watershed.

Last year’s record-breaking attendance at the 17th Annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival was proof that the world is ready to be inspired. The downtowns of Nevada City and Grass Valley came alive with thousands of film enthusiasts, filmmakers, environmental leaders, and world-class athletes who traveled from all over the world to seek out the stories that celebrate environmental activism and teach us how we can each make a difference. Read more…

During Wild and Scenic Film Festival, attendees answered our Call to Action at our outreach booths by signing an important letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom urging him to make Yuba River salmon a priority. The primary objective of the campaign was to bring statewide attention to the Yuba River watershed,  specifically the Lower Yuba below Englebright Dam that has been negatively impacted by Gold Rush era hydraulic mining, dams, and drought. With your help we collected 2,411 signatures, exceeding our goal by over 400. Read more…

In March, SYRCL, in partnership with the Tahoe National Forest, the Camptonville Community Partnership, and Yuba Water Agency received competitive funding from the California Department of Conservation to lead a groundbreaking, collaborative forest health program in the Yuba River watershed. This was a tremendous win for SYRCL and the Yuba River watershed. This funding has already increased collaboration and we have set to work identifying ways to address longstanding concerns of high severity wildfire risk in our community. Read more…

SYRCL delivered its 6th annual State of the Yuba address on April 24th. We invited the community to hear from our team about SYRCL’s vision for the next five years, current projects, challenges, recent successes, and opportunities to get involved. In celebration of the South Yuba’s 20th Year as a Wild & Scenic River, a panel of special guests shared stories about SYRCL’s 1999 victory that protected the river from proposed hydropower dams. We honored our Volunteer of the Year, Nathan Hoxie and Partner of the Year, the Truckee Donner Land Trust. Read more…

In celebration of  the South Yuba’s 20th Anniversary as a California Wild & Scenic River, we invited our members, volunteers and the public to join us at Wild for the Yuba. Twenty years ago, SYRCL and the community won a 16-year campaign to protect our region from hydropower dams when the State Legislature declared 39 miles of the South Yuba protected as a California Wild & Scenic River. In recognition of this major milestone for our emerald gem of a river, we asked Jenn Rain to depict an iconic and treasured location. Jenn’s Emerald Pools illustration was featured on the event posters, invitations, and the website. The original was auctioned at Wild for the Yuba. Read more…

On June 4th, SYRCL, along with numerous local public safety agencies, convened at the Highway 49 Bridge, in the South Yuba River State Park, to hold a press conference about deadly conditions at the Yuba River. The recognition of the need for a united public message that clearly communicates the risks swimmers face, prompted the gathering of these agencies and public safety officials. Read more…

In July, community members filled the Nevada County Board of Supervisors Chambers to hear Dr. Zeno Levy from the United States Geological Survey speak about his groundwater study in the Sierra Foothills and respond to important questions about the future of groundwater. His findings have important policy implications for our community and the Yuba and Bear River watersheds, especially in the face of climate change. Dr. Levy’s results show that we need to start thinking of groundwater and surface water in our community as one resource. Read more…

The Nevada Irrigation District announced at their August board meeting that they will temporarily stop purchasing property for the foreseeable future – including parcels within the proposed Centennial Dam project area. SYRCL and allies have consistently asked NID to cease spending on Centennial where legally possible for more than a year, and property acquisition was the majority of that spending. Read more..

On September 21st, hundreds of people turned out for SYRCL’s annual Yuba River Cleanup. Nearly 900 volunteers removed more than 20,000 pounds of garbage and recyclables from 84 miles of rivers, creeks and lakes. This year, volunteers also assisted Nevada County by posting “No Swimming” advisory signs as a response to a yellow-colored plume of water that appeared along the South Yuba River the previous day. SYRCL’s 22nd annual Cleanup happened to take place during a critical NO SWIM ADVISORY that was issued by Nevada County’s Environmental Health Department. Read more…
In a series of meetings beginning on October 15th, NID staff reported on elements of the Centennial Project, concluding that overall “not much was happening.” NID staff thus requested that updates on Centennial be cut back to only twice a year. Less than 48 hours later, NID scheduled a last-minute Administrative Practices Committee meeting where they approved a contract extension to spend another $43,000 to continue working on Centennial. Then the following day, NID released the draft 2020 Budget. The Budget proposes spending $500,000 on Centennial each year through 2024. Read more…

In November, SYRCL announced its participation in the North Yuba Forest Partnership. This diverse group of nine organizations is committed to prioritizing, planning, and executing forest restoration on an unprecedented scale, covering 275,000 acres in the North Yuba River watershed. Read more…

This year we shared the experience of Salmon Expeditions with a record numbers of students and families. People of all ages are awed by the challenges these salmon face and the perseverance required by this remarkable species to ensure its offspring will survive for another generation. In connecting these students and families to the treasure of the Lower Yuba River, we hope that Salmon Expedition participants leave with not only an appreciation for the resilience of this beautiful ecosystem, but a newfound desire to protect it. Read more…

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