River Monitoring

SYRCL is beginning its 2022 River Monitoring season and we need your help!

We are looking for dedicated, environmentally-driven, river-loving volunteers to monitor water quality at 35 sites throughout the Yuba watershed. The vast amount of water quality data we have collected over the last 20 years has been crucial in protecting and restoring the Yuba River watershed.

2021 SYRCL River Monitoring Coordinator, Kyle McNeil, conducting River Monitoring duties below 49 Bridge
SYRCL AmeriCorps River Monitoring Coordinator, Kyle McNeil, storm sampling for bacteria at the 49 bridge

The River Monitoring program is an award-winning* model of a citizen-based effort to monitor and assess water quality conditions. The program is similar to nationwide Waterkeeper programs that have contributed to the protection and restoration of waterways for healthy wildlife, safe recreation, and reliable water supplies. Through the Yuba River community, SYRCL has been able to build and maintain a program that is unique in its scope and dedication.

At the heart of the River Monitoring program are volunteers, who visit their adopted sites monthly to test water quality conditions and record their observations. In addition to routinely measuring many water quality parameters (water temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, and conductivity), volunteers monitor for the presence of sensitive and invasive species, and occasionally test for bacteria, nutrients, and toxic metals. The program is based on the scientifically-credible Quality Assurance Program Plan approved by the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

River Monitoring Resources are available for volunteer monitors, and those seeking access to program products and tools. A basic presentation of the program provides a convenient overview of the program with photos. The State of the Yuba Report (2006) provides a thorough assessment of the Yuba River Watershed drawing on data from the River Monitoring Program. To access river monitoring data, interpretive charts, site maps and other information useful for watershed assessment, visit the Yuba River Watershed Information System (riverdb.org).

Thank You River Monitors! You are the Key to our Successful Program.

River Monitors are community members who have become trained in water quality sampling and participate in monthly sampling occasions. These incredible volunteers range from high school students to senior citizens, dedicating nine months of their time and energy to the river. With more than 40 active River Monitors, SYRCL is able to monitor conditions at 35 stations throughout the Yuba watershed. River Monitors commonly report that their contributions to the program are a rewarding form of volunteerism. Many River Monitors have been with the program since its inception.

Want to explore the Yuba River Watershed while making a difference?

Become a River Monitor!

We are looking for outdoorsy, environmentally driven volunteers to monitor 35 sites throughout the Yuba watershed in 2022. The vast amount of water quality data we have collected over the last twenty years is crucial in protecting and restoring the Yuba River watershed.

River Monitors are community members who have become trained in water quality sampling and participate in monthly sampling events. These incredible citizen scientist volunteers dedicate nine months of their time and energy to the river.

Contact SYRCL’s River Monitoring Coordinator,  Eloise Bellingham to volunteer!

Join the River First Responder Team!

SYRCL’s new River Monitoring Plan defines a new role for volunteer Citizen Scientists, as River First Responders. River First Responders will assist SYRCL’s River Monitoring Coordinator with storm event sampling, high flow fish sampling, and become on-call monthly monitors. Become a part of this team by filling out the River First Responder Application.

Contact SYRCL’s Ecohydrologist, Kyle McNeil, if you are interested in participating in this award-winning citizen science project that protects the Yuba River Watershed.

The Monitoring Program Grows with our Watershed Community

Since the official start of the River Monitoring program in 2000, SYRCL has expanded water quality monitoring sites to include a variety of tributaries, provide a more thorough coverage of the watershed, and enable targeted evaluation of issues of concern.  In addition, we have launched several special monitoring projects that require assistance outside routine monthly monitoring. These projects include stormwater sampling, operation of temperature data loggers, and bioassessment involving macroinvertebrates and algae. Volunteers are important to the success of these projects, and our overall goal of assessing the condition of our watershed and evaluating potential actions aimed at protection or restoration. Many volunteer monitors have also assisted with our Meadows Health Assessment project.

*In November 2001, The Yuba River Monitoring Program was honored with the Sierra Nevada Group of the Sierra Club’s prestigious Citizen Activist Award. The award commends the program’s outstanding work for the local environment and the community.

New River Monitoring Plan

As we look back and celebrate 20 incredible years of River Monitoring at SYRCL, we also look forward to future decades of protecting the Yuba River and keeping this tradition alive. As a result, we have updated our River Monitoring Plan, originally written in 2000.