Volunteer Spotlight – Terry Armstrong

Posted on March 23

The South Yuba River Citizens League Board of Directors and Staff would like to sincerely thank all of the tremendous volunteers who help dedicate enormous amounts of time, skills, and enthusiasm to SYRCL’s mission.

What motivated you to become a SYRCL volunteer?

One of my first visits to this area included a wildflower walk at Bridgeport along the Buttermilk Bend trail above the South Yuba River. The views of the river were striking and I was curious about what was being done to protect the river and the watershed. A few months later, I attended an introductory meeting about SYRCL’s Yuba Stewards project and thought it well worth supporting. I hooked up with the manager of the project and offered to help out when I could. I planned to move to this area and intended to enjoy the Yuba River, so wanted to do something for it.

What are the volunteer roles that you have filled at SYRCL?

I started as a Yuba Steward for the lower reach of Canyon Creek, from just below the Bowman Lake dam to its confluence with the South Yuba River. Along with another volunteer, I visited the local historic libraries to find records and maps of gold mining activity, and met with staff at the Tahoe National Forest office for information about the natural history of the area. I teamed up with the Yuba Stewards project manager to hike into Canyon Creek several times to begin identifying the impacts of human activity. I also cataloged and organized the Yuba Stewards library in the SYRCL office.

When SYRCL suspended the Yuba Stewards project, I began helping out with the river monitoring program, starting with the downstream end of the data flow. I first helped the River Science Director create summary charts to present aspects of the data that had been collected over the ten years of the program. I then worked my way upstream, and for the past two years, entered the monitoring data into the computer database from the monthly field data sheets. I eventually made it all the way to the headwaters and began collecting data myself as a river monitor. And along the way, I cataloged the hundreds of maps that SYRCL has in the office.

How long have you been a river monitor and what sites have you visited?

Along with a long-time river monitor, I was a monitor for the past year for Site 2 on the North Yuba River at Downieville. I’ve been in the neighborhood of several other sites, but just as a casual visitor. I’m most familiar with the Canyon Creek area.

What are some of your hobbies, interests and passions?

My wife and I have a young, energetic Vizsla at home, so I’m out jogging or walking on the NID canals for 2-3 hours almost every day. I use the time to watch for birds or other critters and to observe what is happening along the canals. I like to get out on my bike for some exercise with our dog too. We go tent camping in the Sierra when we can and have some favorite spots. We also have some favorite local restaurants and attend the theater and movies often. I spent about 15 years with Peace Corps, and do what I can to bring the world back home—the third goal. Home life usually sees me in my favorite chair with a book, if I’m not baking bread.

How long have you lived in the area?

I’m just starting my fourth year as a local resident, first on Banner Mountain and now in Peardale.

What is your favorite place in the Yuba Watershed?

That’s hard to say—I have a lot of the watershed yet to visit. I like the trip along the Yuba-Donner Scenic Byway on the North Yuba in the Downieville-Sierra City area. I like the Grouse Ridge area up to Bowman Lake and over to the east. I like the Arctic Mine Road hike up Canyon Creek. And the trail at Buttermilk Bend is a close-by favorite.

What are some interesting aspects of being a volunteer for SYRCL’s River Science Program?

Just having a reason to get out into the Yuba Watershed regularly is interesting enough. Having a potential small impact on the health of the watershed adds to the interest. And working with the SYRCL staff is a bonus.