Our Eyes on the Yuba: River Monitoring during COVID-19

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Dear SYRCL Family,

Once again, I’m writing you from home and feeling gratitude for you and other members of our Yuba Community. Thank you so much for your kindness and good will during the pandemic. Though there’s positive news from state and county officials that we could be on track for a re-opening plan, it’s far from business as usual.

As I’ve said before, the COVID-19 crisis has been frustrating because we at SYRCL have so much work to do for the Yuba Watershed. Climate change impacts are more visible than ever, and our next fire season is looming. Is another multi-year drought on the horizon? Are polluters taking advantage while we’re focused on the public health crisis?

Luckily our River Monitoring program is maintaining vigilance throughout our watershed – thanks to the dedication of our staff and an incredible foundation laid by hundreds of volunteers over the last 20 years.

We know it’s a stressful time to ask, but we are strong because of you. If you’re able to make a special donation this spring, we will put it to work right away to make sure our critical programs, like River Monitoring, continue. 

SYRCL’s River Monitoring is one of the longest water quality tracking programs in California. It relies on dozens of trained volunteers, citizen scientists actually, to conduct water quality testing at more than 35 sites across the Yuba watershed. 

“It’s foundational to our ability to be a watchdog for the community,” says Karl Ronning, SYRCL Hydrologist.

Thanks to the support of local officials, River Monitoring’s water quality work has been classified as “essential duties.”  But we’ve had to adapt. Rather than our volunteers, Karl and a few other staff members are hustling to sample 35 sites in the watershed … every 30 days.

They’re working in pairs while practicing appropriate social distancing, covering the work of 45 trained River Monitors (whom they sorely miss). They did it in April, and they’re doing it again this week for May.

This is just one example of how we’re doing everything we can to keep SYRCL’s work to protect and restore the Yuba moving forward. We just have to. Clean water and a vibrant watershed are cornerstones of a healthy community.

Your gift today will help us maintain these efforts to safeguard the Yuba.

For clean water and a healthy Yuba,

Melinda Booth
Executive Director

P.S. According to Karl Ronning, who oversees River Monitoring, “We are the eyes on the water. It’s essential to keep up water testing during this unprecedented time.” Without River Monitoring, we won’t know if something may be endangering clean drinking water—just when people need it the most. If you’re able to make a gift now, you’ll help Karl keep SYRCL’s eyes on the water.


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