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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Giving Back to the Lower Yuba River - SYRCL Hammon Bar Restoration Project

Volunteering my time is important to me on local rivers and fisheries that I guide on. Today I worked with staff from the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) on the Hammon Grove Willow Restoration Project, as I did last year, but the task at hand today was different. With the six major high water events this past winter, including two at over 80,000 cubes, gravel, cobblestones, and finer material was moved throughout the system. Today was all about relocating and tagging the plots of different species of willows and cottonwoods.

Team leader Courtney Hudson, Restoration Coordinator, used advanced GPS and a detailed map to find the remaining plots to be tagged, while Anna Schwyter, River Monitoring Coordinator, matched each plot with the correct id number tag. My job was the installation technician.

We worked great together as a team and affixed the proper tag to each plot. You would be blown away with the amount of material that was spread over Hammon Bar, some of the willows and cottonwoods that we measured last year were half the size due to being submerged by the new added material. 

So why are willows and cottonwoods so important to the Lower Yuba River? They capture woody debris which in turn controls silt, plus provides salmon, steelhead, and trout fingerlings with cover to hide from predators during higher flows. In some cases, they also provide adult fish with the same type of helpful habitat. Birds, adult aquatic insects, beavers, and rattlesnakes also benefit from the foliage.  

Courtney will be on site for the next three weeks collecting data at Hammon Bar, volunteers are needed and she sure would appreciate any help. You can contact her at 530.265.5961 ext. 216. If you have the time and want to give back to the river you love, give her a call and lend a hand.
I had a great time being next to the Yuba River and can't thank Courtney and Anna enough for the awesome company and good times. We saw deer, turkey, a bald eagle, snowy egrets, a blue heron, mergansers, songbirds, rabbits, and of course the turkey vulture posse riding the thermals. Absolutely beautiful. As far as the river conditions go, the water clarity is a nice steelhead green with about 2 to 3 feet of visibility, flows were at 9,500 cfs, and not one aquatic insect to be found, I surely thought we would see a golden stone, or some caddis fluttering about. Oh well, maybe next time...

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