Parks Bar by Frank Rinell
Parks Bar by Frank Rinell

Nevada City, Calif. September 18, 2016 – From the headwaters at Donner Summit to where the Yuba meets the Feather River, an historic number of volunteers turned out for the 19th Annual Yuba River Cleanup. The numbers are still rolling in from the more than 30 Cleanup sites. So far, we know at least 790 volunteers enthusiastically removed approximately 7,465 pounds of trash and 1,180 pounds of recyclables from 85.25 miles of river, creek and lake shoreline at 32 cleanup and four restoration sites within the Yuba River and Bear River watersheds. Families, school groups and business teams pitched in to get their hands dirty for the betterment of numerous local waterways. Interesting items found included a kayak, rubber raft, television set, apple-shaped cheese grater, a brand new pair of shoes, boogie board, a VHS Bill Cosby tape and a bowling pin. The front end of a vehicle was pulled from Englebright Lake and an amethyst crystal was found in Deer Creek.

Covered Bridge by Miriam Limov
Covered Bridge by Miriam Limov

“I am humbled and in awe of the overwhelming support of this incredible community.  It is so inspiring to see what a committed community can achieve when we pool our resources, time and love for the river.  Thank you to the families, colleagues, club members and teams that came out yesterday to help remove everything from harmful garbage like car batteries and glass, to micro-trash and household waste,” said Jenn Tamo, SYRCL’s Community Engagement Manager.

Some of the heroic efforts included:

  • A new partnership with Yuba County, SYRCL added the “Horseshoe” as a high priority Cleanup location in Marysville.
  • Students from Nevada Union, Bear River High School, and Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning teamed up with community members at the Highway 49 and Hoyt’s crossings. Together, they scrambled over boulders to remove 22 bags of micro-garbage, like cigarette butts and bottle caps and a turtle-shaped bean bag.
  • Volunteers, led by members of the Wolf Creek Community Alliance, spent the morning removing 2,300 pounds of trash and 350 pounds of recycling from Idaho-Maryland Road along Wolf Creek.
  • Volunteers hiked six-miles roundtrip to tackle the trash issue at the South Yuba River Primitive Campground. Their load of multiple abandoned encampments will be helicoptered out next week.
  • Long-time SYRCL volunteer, Rick Sharkey led the efforts at Purdon’s Crossing. Rick has been with the cleanup since the very start.

Since its inception 19 years ago, Waste Management of Nevada County has generously supported trash removal of the Cleanup. This year they donated trash and recycling dumpsters, as well as vouchers for complimentary waste disposal for volunteers transferring debris from the shores of the Yuba River. “We’re thrilled to continue to support this community effort that keeps Yuba River and Nevada County clean and green,” said David Adler, District Manager at Waste Management of Nevada County. “Our priority is to provide safe, reliable and friendly service to the residents and businesses of Nevada County. Our contributions during the Yuba River Cleanup are another way we are trying to help.”

Volunteer appreciation party at Pioneer Park

After the Cleanup, volunteers celebrated their success at Nevada City’s Pioneer Park.  When volunteers arrived each team was announced by emcee, Melinda Booth of SYRCL’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival. The party buzzed with palpable positive energy as volunteers enjoyed local food, brews and music.

Field representative Damian Fussel presented SYRCL’s Executive Director, Caleb Dardick with a certificate of recognition from California State Senator Ted Gaines. Mr. Fussel spent the morning volunteering at the Champion Mine site, and thanked SYRCL for its wonderful work for the river on behalf of Senator Gaines. Nevada County Supervisor Nate Beason praised attendees for their commendable volunteer efforts.
Enthusiastic children and adults alike, partook in lawn games, including giant Jenga, cornhole, Frisbee, and even an over-sized ring toss with hula hoops. Kids were invited to make and decorate fish amulets to take home. Stantec Eco Engineering provided face-painting for kids of all ages. One group of excited eight-year-olds danced on stage and proclaimed the activities to be “totally awesome!”

Volunteers departed the park with a sense of pride after a wholesome meal provided in part by BriarPatch, California Organics, and Christopher’s Deli. A stunning spread of desserts was donated by local bakeries.

River Ambassadors praised for fifth year of stewardship

SYRCL also honored the 34 River Ambassador volunteers who participated in the program. Now in its 5th year, this program brings volunteers to popular river crossings of the Yuba to speak face-to-face with visitors about stewardship. This year, River Ambassadors spoke to a record-number of Yuba River visitors; 9,643 to be exact. They also picked up 7,917 pieces of trash and recycling, handed out 465 bio-degradable dog waste bags, and picked up 583 piles of dog waste, a total of 1,048 piles of dog waste did not end up in the river or on the shoreline. Over the past five summers River Ambassadors have spent 4,268 hours on the Yuba speaking to 27,916 people and removing 33,632 pieces of trash and dog waste!

Clean-a-thon nearing goal

The Cleanup and the River Ambassador programs keep the Yuba healthy, clean and safe year-round, and they have real costs.  SYRCL needs the community’s help to keep them going. So far, $15,799 has been raised to fund these vital programs.

“We’ve had an outpouring of support, and we hope to close our fundraising gap in the next week,” said Julie Pokrandt, SYRCL’s Development Director. The Clean-a-thon Campaign will stay open on Crowdrise until September 30. “Please visit or visit the SYRCL office to make a donation to support these stewardship efforts.”

Over six acres restored

Volunteers don’t just remove trash and recycling. SYRCL’s restoration projects took place at four locations this year where volunteers removed highly invasive non-native species such as Himalayan blackberry, yellow star thistle, and English ivy from Bennett Street Meadow, Edwards Crossing, Jones Bar, Kentucky Creek and Purdon Crossing.

This event is made possible thanks these generous sponsors:

A-One Bookkeeping & Tax Service, Balance Hydrologics Inc., Body Logic Physical Therapy, California Growers Association, California Solar Electric Co, California State Parks Foundation, Donner Summit Public Utility District, Floracopeia, Stantec Consulting Services, Inc., Tahoe National Forest, and UNFI.

49er Rotary, CBEC Eco Engineering, Cranmer Engineering, Earth Circle Organics, Gold Country Kiwanis, Grass Valley HydroGarden, Grass Valley: A Belden Brand, HDR, Janet Peake MBA CFP EA, Mike Bratton – State Farm Agent, Pleasant Valley Veterinary Center, SCO Planning & Engineering, Sierra Theaters, Sperry Van Ness – Highland Commercial, Truckee Donner Land Trust, and Western Aggregates LLC.

Automotive City, B & C True Value Home and Garden Center, Byers, California Organics, Clientworks, Coldwell Banker Grassroots Realty, Gold-N-Green Equipment Rentals, Holdrege & Kull Consulting Engineers and Geologists, Margie Determan and Ed Rotberg, Sierra College, Sierra FoodWineArt, Stillwater Sciences, Sweetland Garden and Mercantile, and Truckee Tahoe Airport District.

All Phase Heating and Air Conditioning, SRC Party Rentals & Supplies, Darwin S. Leek DC, Fire Safe Council of Nevada County, Jason Danielson & NetApp, Nevada City Engineering Inc., Nevada City Self Storage, South Yuba River Park Association, and Volz Brothers Automotive.

Dawn Lorraine Conscious Skincare, Great Sierra River Cleanup, Haute Trash, Humble Fabric & Crafts KVMR, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Soil Sisters, and YubaNet.

SYRCL would like to thank the following local businesses who supported the volunteer appreciation buffet lunch and beer garden: 

Bidwell Water Company, BriarPatch Co-op, Cake for Giants, California Organics, Carl’s Junior, Crispin Cider Company, Emily’s Catering and Cakes, Flour Garden Bakery, Grocery Outlet, Jernigan’s Tap House and Grill, Raley’s, Safeway, Save Mart, Sierra Ridge Market, Soil Sisters, SPD Markets, Summer Thymes Bakery and Deli, Tahoe Mountain Brewing Co, and Three Forks Bakery & Brewing Co.

SYRCL would like to thank the public agencies and civic entities for their support with trash and recycling removal:

Army Corps of Engineers, Bear Yuba Land Trust, Bureau of Land Management, California State Parks, Caltrans, City of Grass Valley, City of Marysville, City of Nevada City, Nevada County, Nevada Irrigation District, Recology, Soda Springs General Store, Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal, U.S. Forest Service, Waste Management, Yuba County.

SYRCL would like to thank volunteers from the many clubs, school groups, community and civic organizations that help make the Cleanup such a success every year.

4 Elements Earth Education and Fox Walkers, Baiocchi’s Troutfitters, Banner Grange, Beale Air Force Base, Bear River High School, Bear River Key Club, Boy Scouts, California Coastal Commission, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Champion Mine Homeowners Association, Core Academy at Marysville, Donner Summit Area Association, El Dorado National Forest, Fire Safe Council Nevada County, Friends of Purdon Crossing, Girl Scouts, Gold Country Fly Fishers Association, Grass Valley Charter School, Great Sierra River Cleanup, Nevada City School of the Arts, Nevada Union Girls’ Varsity Volleyball, Nevada Union Key Club, Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning, Sierra Nevada Alliance,  Sierra Nevada Group of the Sierra Club, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, Skippers Cove Marina, South Yuba River Park Association, Synergia Learning Ventures and Finding the Good, Truckee Donner Land Trust, and Wolf Creek Community Alliance.

About the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL): The South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL, pronounced “circle”) is the leading voice for the protection and restoration of the Yuba River watershed. Founded in 1983 through a rural, grassroots campaign to defend the South Yuba River from proposed hydropower dams, SYRCL has developed into a vibrant community organization with over 3,500 members and volunteers based in Nevada City, CA. See: