The South Yuba River Citizens League's (SYRCL – pronounced circle) mission is to unite the community to protect and restore the Yuba River watershed. SYRCL was founded in 1983 by grassroots activists determined to protect the South Yuba River from dams. Ultimately, SYRCL won permanent protections for 39 miles of the South Yuba River under California’s Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Today, SYRCL is the central hub of community activism to protect, restore, and celebrate the Yuba River watershed. With over 37 years of achievements, 3,500 members and 1,300 active volunteers, SYRCL is doing great things for the Yuba watershed. We are working to restore wild salmon to their native waters. We are replanting the banks of the Goldfields with trees. We are inspiring activism across the globe with our environmental film festival. Together, we are extending our powerful coalition from the Sierra to the sea.

Organization scope

Yuba River Watershed


Ashley Overhouse
(530) 265-5961

Resources from South Yuba River Citizens LeagueAll resources

Recommended Reading   1/1/2020

River Monitoring Plan for the Yuba River Watershed


News and updates from South Yuba River Citizens LeagueAll news


Proactive Action is Key to Balancing Future Water Demands with Supply

The South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) and our partners are currently working through a tangle of water issues which stretch from the highest reaches of our beloved Yuba River all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. This issue promises to impact how Yuba water flows into the Bay-Delta system which will have a […]


Unlocking the Future of Yuba River Salmon: Advocating for Restoration Through Relicensing

On January 16th, SYRCL and our allies in the Foothills Water Network filed comments with the Federal Energy Commission (FERC) requesting formal studies to help restore salmon in the lower Yuba River. Our comments also focused on the YWA’s Final License Application for the project and are part of the relicensing of the Narrows 1 […]


The Yuba Watershed and the Bay-Delta Plan: Interlinked Plumbing and Management

Salmon were once prolific in the Yuba watershed and the Sacramento River Basin.  Historically, over 300,000 would return in the fall to spawn in the Yuba. But due to large dams blocking historical habitat, modification of river hydrology, and the lasting impacts of the Gold Rush, salmon and the Bay-Delta are on the brink of […]


The Bay Delta and Yuba: Native American Tribes, Water Rights, and Cultural Uses

“First in time, first in right….”  –Doctrine of prior appropriation The “first in time, first in right” principle didn’t apply to California’s first people, and it still doesn’t apply today. The principle of “prior appropriation” meant that water was to be used and water rights bestowed to the first person who used it for mining […]


The Yuba River and the Bay Delta: A Vital Connection for Salmon

The Yuba River and the Bay Delta are connected by more than water. They are also linked by the migration of salmon, which depend on both habitats for their survival. These fish provide food, recreation, and cultural value for millions of Californians. The spring-run Chinook salmon’s life cycle is an extraordinary odyssey that begins and […]


PG&E and PacGen: A risky proposal for the Yuba River, our community, and ratepayers.

While many people are familiar with the miles of transmission lines that Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) owns, not as many know about their large portfolio of hydroelectric assets – the dams, reservoirs, and powerhouses — they operate.  On the Yuba and Bear Rivers, PG&E owns the Drum Spaulding project that currently includes 24 dams […]


Salmon Return Numbers: October Rush

Through SYRCL’s participation in the River Management Team (RMT), we get monthly updates on the number of Chinook and steelhead utilizing the fish ladders at Daguerre Point Dam. The latest numbers are in, and it seems that the return of cool weather in October has spurred a rapid increase in salmon returning to the Yuba. […]


YFN: November/December Newsletter

Land Acknowledgement SYRCL works throughout the Yuba River watershed on the Ancestral and Traditional homelands of the Nisenan Tribe, and includes shared boundaries with the Mountain Maidu, Konkow, and Washoe peoples. These tribes have lived here for millennia and live here still. We acknowledge and mourn the painful history of genocide and the devastation of […]


Analysis of the new Clean Water Act Section 401 Rule

On September 5, 2023, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an Order that reaffirms the California State Water Board’s authority to enforce a “water quality certification” for new hydropower licenses granted to projects such as the Upper Drum-Spaulding, Lower Drum, and Deer Creek hydroelectric projects. Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act empowers […]


Salmon Return Numbers So Far: Are They Encouraging?

Through SYRCL’s participation in the River Management Team (RMT), we get monthly updates on the number of Chinook and steelhead utilizing the fish ladders at Daguerre Point Dam. The latest numbers are in and, at this moment in time, salmon are off to a slow start working their way up the Yuba River.