River Monitors Collect Data on Water Quality and Bacteria Throughout the Summer

Ace Emmerling monitoring water quality at Jackson Meadows.
Ace Emmerling monitoring water quality at Jackson Meadows.

As summer rolls on, the River Monitoring Team continues to collect information on water quality conditions at 38 sites throughout the Yuba watershed on a monthly basis.  The effects of a drier-than-average winter are visible in the data.  As the water gets warmer, dissolved oxygen levels continue to fall making streams less hospitable for aquatic life.  Low flow conditions persist throughout the watershed.  Upper Rush Creek, a tributary to the South Yuba which goes dry almost every year, has already gone dry. The Upper South Yuba tributary sites near Donner Summit are trending towards summer drying as well.

During the summer months, SYRCL collaborates with the State Water Resource Control Board to test for bacteria contamination at the Yuba’s popular swimming holes as part of a “Safe to Swim Study.”  This summer, SYRCL has selected seven priority sites throughout the North, Middle and South forks of the Yuba.  Volunteer River Monitors collect standard water quality parameters along with special samples sent to state laboratories for analysis of total coliform and E-coli bacteria.

We are waiting on the results from June’s Safe to Swim Sampling.  Testing and evaluating will continue through September and if any concerns are found SYRCL will follow-up with authorities immediately.

Many thanks to the 80 River Monitoring volunteers who have contributed a combined 615 hours throughout the season to collect data on water quality!!  Please contact Marianne Pott, the River Monitoring Coordinator, if you would like to join this exciting and fun group of citizen scientists.

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