Lower Yuba Restoration

SYRCL has a vision to create a large-scale restoration and land conservation program in the lower Yuba River. Fish populations in the lower Yuba River have continued to decline, exacerbated by drought conditions that will become more common due to climate change. This makes active and adaptive management of flows more important than ever before. The lower Yuba should serve as an educational and recreational resource for all who live in the Yuba River watershed. To learn more about SYRCL’s work on the lower Yuba, see the links below.

Lower Yuba Restored Vision. Image credit to artist Mona Caron.

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.

As featured in the Appeal Democrat article, Story of the Year: A decade later for historic Yuba River Accord, “SYRCL is committed to improving habitat conditions in the lower Yuba River and has successfully worked with landowners, agencies, nonprofits and consulting firms on restoration projects. The organization…has plans to restore 250 acres of riparian habitat on the river over the next five years.”