Teaching River Chemistry and Aquatic Ecology to Yuba County Students

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Yuba Community College students learn about the Yuba River at Hammon Bar

An Ecology class from Yuba Community College benefited from the knowledge and experience of SYRCL’s River Monitoring Program when they were led, last Saturday, in a variety of educational field exercises on the lower Yuba River.  SYRCL’s River Monitoring Coordinator, Eric Rubenstahl, got help from Jeff Lauder of the Sierra Streams Institute to teach the basics of river monitoring, bioassessment and riverine ecology.  The college students met at Hammon Grove County Park where they were able to learn about riparian habitat by seeing SYRCL’s riparian restoration project on the bar across the river. The location is also interesting because of the confluence of Dry Creek.  Virginia Moran, the professor for the class, explained the geomorphology of the Lower Yuba and physical attributes of the river system.  Eric taught the basics of river monitoring and instructed students in the use of equipment to measure dissolved oxygen, pH, air temperature, turbidity, conductivity and water temperature.  The final element to the placed-based educational workshop, was collection and identification of benthic macroinvertebrates, and the assessment of invertebrate community for understanding water quality and habitat conditions.

“Sierra Streams Institute is a great partner for SYRCL in providing this kind of education” said Eric Rubenstahl, the River Monitoring Coordinator with SYRCL. “Jeff Lauder has talent for this, and I enjoyed seeing hesitant students become engaged and curious”.  SYRCL’s River Monitoring program is designed primarily to detect and assess water quality and habitat conditions in the Yuba River and tributaries, for the purpose of protection and restoration. The program has a secondary purpose, however, to unite the community through participation and education.  This experience with Yuba College was a success, and a harbinger of more educational events in the future.

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