The Yuba River Cleanup: A Dedicated Community on a Powerful Mission 

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Every year since 1997, SYRCL volunteers from all walks of life converge upon the banks of the Yuba River and local tributaries, donning gloves, carrying bags, and armed with an unwavering commitment to safeguarding this vital waterway. Their collective goal? To remove waste, restore natural habitats, and ensure that the Yuba River remains a thriving ecosystem for generations to come. 

Syd Brown, SYRCL and Sierra Gold Parks Foundation Board Member, dedicated volunteer, and site leader at this year’s cleanup says, ” I think that the cleanup event is more important than ever. I wish that people would understand the impact that their trash has on the environment—not just the visual affront, but the impact to the ecosystem. Tiny bits of plastic and glass persist in the environment for so long.” 

Syd Brown at the Yuba River Cleanup

She further added, “The cleanup is so important as a community bonding experience, and as a tangible way to contribute to the health of our watershed.  I have participated over the years and have really appreciated seeing the families that work together, from tiny tots to teens. It’s heartening to see such commitment.  

 Syd’s sentiment resonates with countless others who have participated, transforming a day of community service into a profound connection with nature and community. 

Yuba River Cleanup: The Ripple Effect of Collective Action 

The power of hundreds of hands working in harmony is undeniable. The Yuba River Cleanup is more than just a cleanup; it’s a testament to the strength of community and shared purpose. As volunteers scour the riverbanks, wade through shallow waters, and climb over rocky terrain, camaraderie emerges, echoing the river’s own harmonious flow. 

Frank Rinella of the Gold Country Fly Fishers shares a bit about the club’s ongoing collection action in the cleanup: “Gold Country Fly Fishers have been helping SYRCL’s Yuba Cleanup event for over 20 years. Our club’s volunteers consider the Lower Yuba River our home waters for fly fishing, so it only seems right that we keep it clean and protect our watershed. Our members also work on keeping the river clean on their regular fishing outings. Trash and junk piles on the river only seem to grow and attract more trash. We help pick up those small items before they grow and attract more.” Frank’s words encapsulate the sentiment of the volunteers who understand that the impact of their efforts extends far beyond the immediate cleanup day. 

Yuba River Cleanup: A Transformative Experience 

The Yuba River Cleanup isn’t just about picking up trash; it’s a transformative experience that deepens understanding, fosters connections, and cultivates a sense of stewardship. Volunteers come face-to-face with the intricate web of life that relies on the river’s health – from fish to birds to plant life. This newfound awareness may spark further action, motivating them to advocate for responsible environmental practices long after the cleanup ends. 

As another Yuba River Cleanup event approaches, the call for volunteers echoes louder than ever. The impact of hundreds of dedicated individuals taking collective action is far-reaching; over the last 25 years, more than 13,922 volunteers have participated in the event, dedicating more than 41,766 hours (approximate to almost 5 straight years of ongoing labor) to cleaning up over 135 tons of garbage and recycling, and restoring countless habitats.  

Whether you’re a seasoned environmental advocate or someone looking to make their first contribution, the Yuba River Cleanup welcomes all with open arms. The legacy of these cleanup events is one of unity, transformation, and a commitment to safeguarding the Yuba River for generations to come.  

In the words of volunteer Cody Capella, the cleanup has been a great experience for him and his family to bond: “We started participating in 2020, when all four of us were back home hunkered down together at the beginning of the pandemic. It was a great chance to give back to where we grew up while keeping everyone safe, and we had such a blast that we’ve been doing it every year since!  

Cody and his family went on to share “Grassroots efforts like the Yuba River cleanup are hugely important—not only are they an example of how much of an impact we can have when we work together to improve our local environment, but they also foster a sense of shared responsibility for the places we live. It’s always wonderful to be able to spend some time giving back to a place that so many folks treasure.” The Capella family will be joining the cleanup as a team again this year. 

Looking to protect your happy place? The small action of joining the Yuba River Cleanup will make a BIG difference. Sign up for the upcoming cleanup event TODAY and be a part of the wave of change that’s sweeping through our watershed. Together, we can ensure that the Yuba River’s beauty and vitality endure for years to come. 

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