2014: What a wonderful year for the Yuba

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As 2014 draws to a close, SYRCL is excited to share our accomplishments for the year. From securing funds to restore the Bridgeport Covered Bridge, to mobilizing a record turnout of volunteers for the Yuba River Cleanup Day, to re-launching the acclaimed Great Water Mystery water conservation school assembly program, SYRCL has had a great year working towards a better future for the Yuba.

Please check out the  “12 months of SYRCL,” which showcases just a few of our 2014 highlights. Click on the “Read more” links to read the full article on each topic.

January

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The 12th annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival took over Nevada City and Grass Valley with four nights and three days of films, two days of engaging activist workshops, and positive energy throughout town! Overall, SYRCL’s 2014 Wild & Scenic Film Festival was an astounding success. Many thanks to all attendees, participants, volunteers, sponsors, donors, and staff who made the weekend one to remember. Read more

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Festival goers proved again that SYRCL’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival is “Where activism gets inspired”. SYRCL volunteers collected over 1,500 postcards requesting action to restore wild salmon to the upper Yuba River. Another 1,300 postcards to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors requested their leadership in protecting the Yuba from the proposed reopening of a gold mine on the San Juan Ridge. Read more

February

Gary Parsons, SJRTA Board President, addresses 100 people at early morning rally

Nearly 100 community members turned out to an early morning rally and presentation organized by SYRCL and the San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Association (SJRTA) on the potential impacts of the proposed San Juan Ridge Mine. Following the rally, the Supervisors received over 1,300 signed postcards from concerned citizens. Read more

Tim Palmer on Mount Shasta Jeff Pfleuger photo

 

Award-winning photographer and author, Tim Palmer, presented on his two recent books, Rivers of California and California Glaciers. Snowlands Network, SYRCL, and Sierra Watch hosted the event. Tim Palmer’s inspirational presentation included fabulous photos, stories of outdoor adventures, and insight about the problems and promise of California’s free-flowing waterways. Read more

 

March

The Know Buddies team

The annual and hilarious Brains of Nevada County event was a great success. The event raises money for the Laura Wilcox Scholarship Fund in honor of Laura Wilcox, the Nevada County teenager killed in the January 10, 2001 shooting at the Nevada County Behavioral Health facility. The scholarship is offered annually to high school seniors living in the Yuba River watershed who have a commitment to the environment. Read more

Restoration volunteers celebrate by Yuba River

On Saturday March 22nd, SYRCL restoration volunteers removed between two and three acres of Scotch Broom at Hoyt’s Crossing on the South Yuba River— until they ran out! SYRCL adopted Hoyt’s Crossing in 2012 as a site for annual Scotch Broom removal efforts and eventual eradication. This work helps to reduce fire danger and allow native plants and wildlife to thrive in the area. Read more

 

April

On the 15th anniversary of winning state Wild & Scenic protection for the South Yuba River, SYRCL presented it’s “State of the Yuba” report to the public on the condition of the river, outlined SYRCL’s priorities for the coming year, and invited Yuba-lovers to get involved. The program concluded with an awards ceremony for “Volunteer of the Year” and “Yuba Partner of the Year.” Read more

 

New River Monitor testing on Upper Humbug Creek

The SYRCL family of staff and volunteers were thrilled to welcome 5 new volunteers River Monitors on April 5th. Volunteers are essential to the River Monitoring program and collect information about the health of the entire Yuba River watershed. River Monitors thoroughly complete data sheets, collect water samples, use pH and conductivity meters in the river, and survey for invasive species.  Read more

 

May

YCWA’s Narrows 2 Powerhouse below Englebright Dam

Yuba County Water Agency (YCWA) submitted their Final License Application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for their hydropower project on the Yuba River, for which the current license expires in 2016. SYRCL and our coalition of conservation interests continue to advocate for a new license that adequately protects and restores the river. Read more

 

Hikers at Upper Rock Lake amidst snowstorm!

On Saturday, May 10th, eighteen adventurers, led by local Yuba River historian and author Hank Meals, accompanied Caleb Dardick, SYRCL’s Executive Director, and Miriam Limov, SYRCL’s River People Manager, on an educational and stormy 7-mile round trip hike from Loney Meadows to summit Penner Peak which is in the Grouse Ridge Roadless area of the Tahoe National Forest. Read more

June

Wild for the Yuba silent auction

SYRCL’s Wild for the Yuba Wine & Beer Tasting Experience and Auction took place on Saturday, June 7th at the historic North Star House in Grass Valley. Thanks to our community sponsors, volunteers, auction donors, participating breweries and wineries, food vendors, dessert donors, and staff, fun was had by all, and money was raised to help SYRCL’s programs protect and restore our Yuba Watershed. Read more

 

Photo by: Robert Lowe

Fans of the historic Bridgeport Covered Bridge rejoiced at the news on Friday, June 20th that Governor Jerry Brown approved California’s final budget, which allocates $1.3 million to immediately start work to fully restore and reopen the bridge. Members of the grass roots campaign committee known as “Save Our Bridge” mobilized the community to contact State Legislators and the Governor throughout the months long state budget process. Read more

July

Van Norden Meadow

On day 1, not a single one of the 9 high school students who arrived from Los Angeles to take part in SYRCL’s Earthwatch Meadows Project had ever set foot in or even seen a meadow. By day 3, each and every student could tell you how meadows help to store water that feed streams and rivers throughout the year, how conifers are encroaching on meadow systems, and how mosquitoes prefer the understory of aspen groves- buzzing and biting them as they made observations. Read more

Stay tuned for the 2015 Lower Yuba River Symposim

The Yuba Accord River Management Team hosted the Lower Yuba River Fisheries Symposium near the river on July 15.  This event was very informative for local people who wanted to know more about salmon and steelhead populations and the habitat that supports them. This was the sixth annual symposium of this type, and focused on the Yuba Accord Fisheries Monitoring and Evaluation Program. This year’s theme was ”What’s Unique About the Yuba River?” Read more

August

Become a River Ambassador for the 2015 season

The summer of 2014 was a great year for the River Ambassador program. River Ambassadors spoke with over 6,500 river visitors about best stewardship practices. Volunteer, Shana, speaks about why she and her family enjoy volunteering for SYRCL, “We love SYRCL for its advocacy for the environment. The river connects all things and brings people together. SYRCL gives people a place to begin their fight for the environment.” Read more

SYRCL's work on mountains meadows and aspen stands will continue in 2015

Aspen groves are in decline from conifer encroachment due to changes in natural fire and hydrologic regimes—this ecosystem needs our assistance to remain healthy. SYRCL volunteers help to restore aspen tree habitat, one of the Sierra Nevada’s biodiversity hotspots, by removing small encroaching conifers using hand saws and a lot of love for the Yuba watershed. Read more

 

September

Enthusiastic volunteers at Highway 49 Bridge (Photo: Jeff Litton)

710 volunteers came out on September 20, and removed over 18,000 pounds of trash and recycling from 84.5 miles of river, creek and lake shoreline at 33 sites within the Yuba River and Bear River watersheds. Smiling faces were abundant at SYRCL’s post-Cleanup celebration on the beach of the South Yuba River State Park at Bridgeport Crossing. Volunteers celebrated in the sun and feasted on a free BBQ lunch. Read more

SYRCL continues to monitor water quality of Yuba watershed.

Results from samples collected by local citizen scientists this summer during the State of California’s “Safe to Swim” study show that levels of bacteria at the Yuba’s popular swimming holes meet federal guidelines for recreational contact with water. This summer, SYRCL selected eight priority sites throughout the North, Middle, and South forks of the Yuba. Samples were sent to a state lab for analysis, and results show that all samples collected were well below the EPA guidelines for recreational contact with water. Read more

Daguerre Dam on the lower Yuba River

After a decade of advocacy work by SYRCL, including thousands of postcards to federal officials signed at the 2014 Wild & Scenic Film Festival, the Army Corps of Engineers drafted a report determining that a study should conducted to determine the feasibility of various Yuba Salmon restoration efforts, including improved fish passage at Englebright and Daguerre Dams. The Reconnaissance report confirms that the Yuba County Water Agency will fund half of a $3M Feasibility Study process to begin in 2015.

October

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Salmon passing through the ladders at Daguerre Point Dam are counted using video and motion sensors. In August, 1,175 salmon passed through the ladders to the preferred habitat upstream and below Englebright Dam. September and October are typically the biggest months for migration of Fall-run Chinook salmon. The final combined estimate for total Chinook salmon spawning in 2014 was very close to the 10,000 mark. Read more

“Glacier Caves: Mt. Hood’s Secret World” and other environmental films can be seen at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival Encore event at the North Columbia Schoolhouse on Friday, November 14, 2014. © Brent McGregor

The 2014 On Tour season includes the most Wild & Scenic On Tour events on record.  This year we hosted 140 events across the nation, which is up 35% from 2013.  Films selected for Wild & Scenic On Tour are proving to be relevant to diverse national audiences. Rural and urban communities alike find motivation to go out and make a difference in their communities and the world. In addition, the On Tour program serves as a national platform for local environmental advocacy. Read more

 

November

October and November is the time to see migrating salmon. Signup for a Salmon Tour in September and be a part of the excitement.

Through SYRCL Salmon Tours, about 300 students from Nevada County schools had the opportunity this season to get close to spawning Chinook salmon on the lower Yuba River and learn the story of these amazing fish and how groups like SYRCL are working to help and protect them. SYRCL River Science staff Gary Reedy and Chris Friedel led walking tours as well for two local schools at the University of California’s Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center, in Browns Valley. Read more

Providence Mine

In celebration of the fall season, the Yuba Bear Watershed Council (YBWC) organized a tour of the Nisenan Tribute Site and Providence Mine Remediation Project located on Deer Creek downstream of Nevada City. SYRCL partners with Sierra Streams Institute and others to staff the YBWC. Kyle Leach, Shelly Covert and Izzy Martin led the tour. Read more

December

Carlyle Miller as Detective Drizzle

SYRCL’s River Education Program performed 33 water conservation assemblies and reached 4,246 K-8 students in Nevada and Placer Counties in 2014. The successful return of the “Great Water Mystery”, starring Detective Drizzle, was a joint effort between SYRCL, Nevada Irrigation District, Placer County Water Agency, The City of Nevada City, and The City of Grass Valley. Read more

 

Read Jenn Rain's illustrated story of SYRCL's year

We can’t do any of this great work without your financial support. So please consider making a tax-deductible year-end donation. Help us unite the community to protect the Yuba for years to come! Read more

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