September 27, 2011, Nevada City – The South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) coordinated the 14th annual Greater Yuba River Clean-Up and Restoration Day on Saturday, September 17 with 633 volunteers ranging in age from 3 to 78 years old! Volunteers cleaned and restored 35 sites throughout the Yuba and Bear River Watersheds, including Deer, Wolf and Dry Creeks. The Clean-Up began at 9 am and by noon, volunteers had pulled out an estimated 9,300 pounds of trash and over 4,000 pounds of recyclables and restored over 7 acres of land by removing invasive vegetation, planting native plants and restoring trails for wheelchair accessibility. Clean-Up sites ranged from Donner Summit to Parks Bar on the Lower Yuba covering almost 100 miles of creek, river and lake shoreline. Volunteers originated from as far away as Reno, Nevada to all over the Bay Area including Los Gatos, Petaluma, Santa Rosa and San Francisco.
The clean-up coincided with the Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s 3rd Annual Great Sierra River cleanup, where 2,000 volunteers joined together to remove approximately 36,000 pounds of trash and recycling from across the Sierra Nevada Mountains. SYRCL’s event coincided with the California Coastal Commission’s statewide effort and International Coastal Cleanup Day, which celebrated 27 years of global coastal protection.
Locally, more than a quarter of the volunteers were age 18 and under, from groups including the Ghidotti Key Club, Nevada Union High School Interact Club, Stream Club, Forest Charter, Bear River Key Club, the Woolman School, Boy and Girl Scout troops. Other groups included members of Gold Country Fly Fishers, Wolf Creek Community Alliance, Yuba Bear Land Trust, Sierra Streams Institute, Sierra Club, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Unitarian Universalist Community of the Mountains, Sequoya Challenge, BLM, PG & E, Yuba County Water Agency, Nevada County Juvenile Hall, Yuba Libre Source to Sea, and Englebright House Boaters Association.
Some of the more interesting items found on Saturday included an antique Radio Flyer wagon, 5-foot rubber snake, coconut and an electronic nerve stimulation kit.
“The Yuba River watershed and beyond is fortunate to have such ardent caretakers of its lakes, rivers and streams shown by their exceptional efforts in removing the waste that would have harmed the aquatic ecosystem from Donner Summit on down to the sea. It was inspirational to witness hundreds of young adults and families working together as a community to restore the watershed to a pristine environment for everyone to enjoy,” says Miriam Limov, SYRCL’s organizer of the event.
A post-Clean-Up celebration, volunteer awards ceremony, a recycled trash fashion show by the non-profit educational group, Haute Trash and the bluegrass sounds of Partially Past Due and Playable kept volunteers enjoying the Bridgeport Crossing on the South Yuba State Park for the afternoon.
“I love how the river clean-up unites the watershed community. When over 600 volunteers dedicate a Saturday to pick up trash, it sends a powerful message that we are all responsible year-round for the health of this magnificent river,” states Caleb Dardick, SYRCL’s new Executive Director.
The celebration concluded with the 1st Annual Stone Skipping Competition with 38 participants ages 3 to 64. Each participant skipped 3 stones with awards and trophies going to the top skippers of the 3 age categories. Jeff Carver, a local Nevada County resident, won the adult category with 20 skips, Tyler Donaldson won the ages 13-18 category with 6 skips and Aiden Reedy-Schneider won the youth category with 11 skips.
“The goal our first year was to create an event that was family friendly, but also would give the serious adult stone skippers a chance to compete and show their stuff. The South Yuba River State Park at Bridgeport is one of the most spectacular settings for a stone skipping competition. Set beneath the majestic and longest single-span covered bridge in the world along the crystal clear waters of the Yuba River, it’s going to be a magnet for the great stone skipping brotherhood in the coming years. We had a great turn-out and learned a great deal. We hope that it will be even better next year and will attract even more contestants,” says John Leonard, organizer and creator of the 1st Annual Stone Skipping Competition.
Listen to a terrific radio piece produced by Catherine Stifter, a SYRCL supporter for NPR’s California Magazine that aired on September 23, 2011 following the event:
Lunch Donations: BriarPatch Co-Op Market, Indian Springs Organic Farm, Nevada County Free Range Beef, SPD, Mountain Bounty Farm, California Organics, Broad Street Bistro, Mother Truckers and Natural Selections, Four Frog Farm, Flour Garden Bakery, Riverhill Farm, Living Lands Agrarian Network, Summer Thyme’s, Bakbraken Acres, Carl’s Junior, Starbright Acres Family Farm, SunSmile farms, and Emily’s Catering and Cakes.
Agency and Business Support with Trash/Recycling:
Nevada County Department of Transportation and Sanitation, Waste Management, U.S. Forest Service, California State Parks, Placer County Parks, City of Grass Valley Public Works, Army Corps of Engineers, Nevada Irrigation District, Cal Trans from Nevada City and Yuba County, Bureau of Land Management, Soda Springs Store, Department of Fish and Game, Sierra County Sanitation Department, Nevada County Recycles and Ananda Dhiira.
Support from the following local and regional businesses made the event possible: Nevada City Storage, A-One Bookkeeping & Tax, BriarPatch Co-Op Market, YubaNet News, PG & E, B & C True Value Hardware, Soil Sisters Farm, Little Friends Child Development Center, Inc., Clientworks, California State Parks, Sweetland Garden Shop, Archer Chiropractic, Home Town Hydroponics, Fire Safe Council of Nevada County, The Monkey Cat, and Mountain Recreation.
SYRCL would like to extend our immense gratitude to all the sponsors, food donors, and the agencies that helped with trash/recycling collection for caring about the health of the Yuba and Bear Rivers, Deer, Dry and Wolf Creek watersheds.
SYRCL encourages everyone to thank and support these businesses that helped make the 14th Annual Greater Yuba River Clean-Up and Restoration Day an enormous success.