Written by the South Yuba River Citizens League
The South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) resumed Salmon Expeditions for grade school students from Nevada and Yuba counties after a year away from the river.
SYRCL has worked with schools to implement COVID-safety precautions so the organization can float nearly 1,200 students down the lower Yuba River on rafts to witness spawning salmon. Thanks to a generous grant from Yuba Water Agency, students from Title 1 schools in Yuba County are able to attend free of charge.
“Yuba Water Agency’s funding has not only given more students a potentially life-changing opportunity to better understand this keystone species in our watershed—salmon,” said Melinda Booth, SYRCL’s Executive Director, “it also allowed us to start a water shoe loaner program that will reduce barriers to access for students who may not own a second pair of shoes.”
The water shoe loaner program provides students with suitable footwear as they raft down the river and stop to explore and learn about salmon habitat, Nisenan culture, and SYRCL’s restoration projects.
“This field trip is one of the highlights of our broader water education program,” said Willie Whittlesey, Yuba Water Agency’s general manager. “There is nothing like seeing these kids on the water, so thrilled to be learning about the incredible natural resources that are right in their community. In most cases, the kids will be on the river for the first time, and you can’t help but be inspired by their excitement and deep interest in everything they’re learning and experiencing.”
SYRCL hopes that the immersive educational experience will help to foster a new generation of river stewards who actively engage in conservation and restoration efforts.
This year’s salmon run is expected to be larger than average due to a large population produced in 2017. Approximately 1,500 spring-run salmon have come to spawn in the Yuba compared to last year's approximate 520.
The community is invited to join SYRCL on a Salmon Expedition on Saturday, October 30 from 9:00 am to 3:15 pm. Attendees will learn more about salmon as a keystone species, explore salmon habitat, and tour SYRCL’s first restoration site, Hammon Bar. Tickets are available for adults and youth at yubariver.org.