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Posted on: June 20, 2023

More Yuba County fourth graders to learn about salmon and the Yuba River watershed

A group of students float in a large, gray river raft on the lower Yuba River.

Even more Yuba County fourth graders will have the opportunity to participate in the South Yuba River Citizens League’s Salmon Expedition tours this fall, thanks to a grant from Yuba Water Agency.

“The word is out about this incredible field trip, and we’re very close to getting all Yuba County 4th graders the opportunity to participate,” said Gary Bradford, Yuba Water’s chairman of the board. “Providing students with the opportunity to be on the Yuba River to learn about salmon and our watershed firsthand is truly invaluable.” 

Yuba Water’s Board of Directors approved a $12,960 grant to expand SYRCL’s Salmon Expeditions to 270 more students from Wheatland School District and Plumas Lake Elementary School District, bringing the total to nearly 1,400 fourth graders. Combined with a $403,952 grant approved earlier this year, the funds cover the cost of a day-long educational rafting adventure over the next three years, as well as loaner water shoes and rain jackets.

“The Salmon Expedition field trips provide students with the opportunity to float down the Yuba River, see salmon and other wildlife, and experience a fun, hands-on field trip many students would not have the chance to experience if it wasn’t for the funding provided by Yuba Water Agency,” said Monique Streit, SYRCL’s education director. “Over the last few years, school interest has increased significantly. The additional funding will allow more students to attend a Salmon Expedition float field trip for the first time.” 

During the rafting trip guided by SYRCL naturalists, students learn about the Nisenan tribe, as the Yuba River watershed is their ancestral and traditional homelands. Other lessons include the Gold Rush era and hydraulic mining impacts to the river and the tribe, which continue to this day, the life cycles of salmon and the other wildlife that rely on the river to survive and more. The trip also gives students the chance to see spawning salmon on the lower Yuba River.

Yuba Water has supported the salmon tours for Yuba County fourth graders since 2019. Last year was SYRCL’s largest season to date. SYRCL plans to continue growing capacity to eventually allow the remaining fourth grade classes to join the tour in the years ahead.

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