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SYRCL Volunteers are passionate about protecting our Yuba watershed and our planet. There are so many ways you can take action today to be the voice that will change tomorrow. Check out all the ways you can help protect the Yuba River below.

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Conduct a Burn

Nevada County RCD: Visit a prepped burn unit or an actual prescribed burn in progress to learn what to do before, during, and after a burn.  Before: setting up water, getting the help you need, gathering permits, setting up logistics for volunteers and…

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River Ambassador Program

Be part of the solution

The Problem

Over half of the South Yuba River corridor is public land, managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). State Parks has experienced severe budget cuts in recent years resulting in services being drastically reduced.

With an estimated 800,000+ people visiting the South Yuba River State Park every year and the thousands of pounds of trash removed during SYRCL’s Annual Yuba River Cleanup, the River Ambassador program was developed in partnership between SYRCL and State Parks to prevent the South Yuba River from being “loved to death.” 

The Solution

River Ambassadors are volunteers taking action to motivate and educate the community to care for the South Yuba River! This dedicated team promotes an ethic of responsible, non-polluting use of the river by speaking one-on-one with visitors at crossings, beaches, and on trails. Using a friendly, non-confrontational approach, River Ambassadors educate folks about the polluting impacts of trash and dog waste, the dangers of broken glass, and the catastrophic potential of wildfire. 

SYRCL extends its appreciation to the business community and to the dedicated volunteers that make this program possible. SYRCL is grateful to California State Parks for their help in creating and facilitating this program and the South Yuba River Park Association for their support as well. 

River Monitoring Program

Keep an eye on water quality

The River Monitoring program is an award-winning* model of a citizen-based effort to monitor and assess water quality conditions. The program is similar to nationwide Waterkeeper programs that have contributed to the protection and restoration of waterways for healthy wildlife, safe recreation, and reliable water supplies. Through the Yuba River community, SYRCL has been able to build and maintain a program that is unique in its scope and dedication. 

To access river monitoring data, interpretive charts, site maps and other information useful for watershed assessment, visit the Yuba River Watershed Information System

For more information, contact our River Monitoring Coordinator at rivermonitoring[at]yubariver.org

Community Matters

At the heart of the River Monitoring program are volunteers, who visit their adopted sites monthly to test water quality conditions and record their observations. River Monitors are community members who have become trained in water quality sampling and participate in monthly sampling occasions. These incredible volunteers range from high school students to senior citizens, dedicating nine months of their time and energy to the river.

River Monitors commonly report that their contributions to the program are a rewarding form of volunteerism. Many River Monitors have been with the program since its inception. 

Program Reach

With more than 40 active River Monitors, SYRCL can monitor conditions at 35 stations throughout the Yuba watershed.

In addition to routinely measuring many water quality parameters (water temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, and conductivity), volunteers monitor for the presence of sensitive and invasive species, and occasionally test for bacteria, nutrients, and toxic metals. The program is based on the scientifically credible Quality Assurance Program Plan approved by the Regional Water Quality Control Board. 

Invasive Plant Removal

At SYRCL, invasive plant removal is a key part of mitigating wildfire risk and protecting the abundant density of rare plants native to the foothill’s serpentine soils. Invasive species threaten native species by outcompeting them for valuable resources. Invasive plants like Scotch broom, Spanish broom, and French broom are extremely flammable, and fire germinates their seed. After a burn they can quickly push out natives and homogenize the forest ecosystem in which they have taken root. In other cases, invasive plants are well adapted to dominating some of the foothills’ unique ecosystems. Yellow Star Thistle thrives on dry, sunny slopes. This weed is a nuisance to livestock and ranchers as it can quickly colonize an entire field of native grasses, instead leaving a low nutrient alternative for cows and is even poisonous if grazed by horses. 

Medusahead Scientific name (Elymus caput-medusae)

Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius) Image: WaSu-Bio / CC BY 4.0

Spotted Knapweed (Centaurea maculosa) Image: Matt Lavin / CC BY-SA 2.0

Yellow Star-thistle (Centaurea solstitialis) Image: Franco Folini / CC BY-SA 2.0

SYRCL’s goal is to identify and remove the most threatening populations of invasive plants within the Yuba and American River watersheds, on the western slope of the Tahoe National Forest. Using a priority key designed by the Tahoe National Forest staff, SYRCL’s crew removes populations of Scotch Broom, Yellow Star Thistle, Spotted Knapweed, Barbed Goat Grass, and Medusa Head, among other invasive plants to “wage war on the seed bank.” A method that requires repeated, annual plant removal to diminish the presence of seeds available in the soil until native plants can return to the infested area. 

If any of these plants caught your eye, you can do more research on the Calflora and Cal-IPC websites. These are great resources to explore photos, do research, and find interactive maps describing distribution.  Be sure to look out for these plants in your backyard, on hikes, and on roadsides and think twice before admiring their beauty. 

More ways to get Involved

Salmon Expeditions Naturalist

Every fall, Chinook salmon swim from the Pacific Ocean to their birthplace in the Lower Yuba River to spawn the next generation of salmon. SYRCL and Environmental Travel Companions (ETC) are looking for new volunteer rafting guides to bring students and members of the public to see this spectacle of nature.

Phone Banking

You love the Yuba River and the South Yuba River Citizens League – now, you can share your passion with the community. Volunteer as a caller for a SYRCL phone bank and support our ongoing efforts to keep the Yuba clean, healthy, and safe for everyone. SYRCL seeks volunteers who enjoy talking on the phone to call SYRCL members whose memberships have expired and ask them to renew. Volunteers will improve their communication, fundraising, and public relations skills.

Community Outreach

The SYRCL outreach team seeks outgoing and friendly volunteers who want to represent SYRCL at farmers markets, fairs, and other fun community events.  With your help, we can get the word out about our programs and advocacy efforts, keep the public updated on the state of the watershed and inspire others to get involved too.  Training is flexible and can be conducted at your convenience.

In Office

Assist SYRCL staff with mailings, data entry, research, film library, events and special projects. We love to have volunteers every afternoon.

At Events

SYRCL promotes its mission by a collective of community awareness and education events, watershed stewardship opportunities, and membership fundraising events which all help to protect the Yuba River watershed. We’d love for you to get involved by attending or volunteering. Go to our calendar of events to get updated information about each event.

Restoration Projects

With the assistance and leadership from volunteers, SYRCL is actively engaged in lower Yuba restoration, meadow restoration and invasive species removal. Learn more about our current projects here.

Help us help the Yuba

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