In 2016, the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) applied for and received a $3.2 million grant in order to begin restoration on 42 acres of the part of the lower Yuba River known as Long Bar. The majority of the restoration process consisted of removing approximately 350,000 yards of hydraulic mining debris in order to restore optimal rearing conditions for spring- and fall- run Chinook and Central Valley Steelhead. By removing this gravel, we have brought the floodplain down to where the water is and then we planted along the riverbanks in order to jumpstart the food web.
In November of 2022, the project was completed, just in time for a winter punctuated by nearly 15 atmospheric rivers that dumped a significant amount of water onto the watershed. As the huge Sierra snowpack began melting, even more water flowed down the Yuba.
After many months of high water, the Lower Long Bar restoration project is starting to emerge – and it looks incredible.
Our restoration work of lowering floodplains, designing channels, and planting vegetation gives the Lower Yuba the space and the tools to be healthy… but it takes high water and time for the river to make the new habitat “her own.”
Our team saw naturalized side channels, riffles, pools, vegetation recruitment, beaver activity, and all kinds of other great stuff on a visit out to the project site. Similar to Hallwood, we saw extended rearing of juvenile salmonids in our seining and snorkel surveys.
On one of the last seining events, Cramer Biologist Jesse Weisenfeld captured a lamprey larva, or ammocoete. The ammocoete could not be confidently identified to species (as it is tricky to do at this life stage), but likely suspects are Western brook lamprey or Pacific lamprey (which are anadromous like salmon and steelhead). Lamprey are not well documented above Daguerre Point Dam (a known barrier for Pacific lamprey) so this was an exciting find. This just reinforced the need for more lamprey focused research in our watershed.
SYRCL will continue to monitor Lower Long Bar to gauge the success of the project and to use that data to help it in designs of future restoration projects in the lower Yuba.
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