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


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The Possible Impacts of the EPA Redefining “Waters of the United States” on the Yuba Watershed

Enacted in 1972, the Clean Water Act established a nationwide approach to improving the quality of our nation’s lakes, rivers, streams, and other water bodies. One of its features is that it prohibits the discharge of pollutants from a point source into “navigable waters” unless otherwise authorized under the Act. “Navigable waters” are defined in the Act as “the waters of the United States, including the territorial seas.”


Understanding the Rhythms of Rivers: Exploring Natural Hydrographs and the Impact of Dams on Watersheds

Dams create a number of issues for the overall health of a watershed. One of the primary issues is that they modify the volume (discharge) and timing of when and how water flows in the portion of the river downstream. Dams trap and store water in the wet periods of time, and then release additional water during the dry, hot periods of time to meet human need. The graph which shows the amount of water flowing past a point over time is called a hydrograph.


The Supreme Court’s Decision on Sackett and What That Means for the Yuba Watershed

In a significant ruling on May 25, 2023, the Supreme Court delivered a decision that carries profound implications for the Clean Water Act, the landmark water pollution law. The Court concluded that the property owned by an Idaho couple does not fall within the scope of wetlands that are subject to federal oversight under the […]


SYRCL Has Mixed Reactions to the Closed-Door Yuba River Negotiations

On May 16th , Governor Newsom, along with Yuba Water Agency, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) held a press conference announcing efforts to build a fish passage canal around Daguerre Point Dam and begin a reintroduction trap-and-haul effort around New Bullards Bar Dam. The term […]


Another Court Victory for Clean Water in California

On August 4, 2022, a panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overruled the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), re-establishing California’s right to protect water quality in the Yuba, Bear, and Merced River Watersheds for the next 40 years. 


SYRCL’s 40th Anniversary Film YUBA IS THE HEART is now available to view.

Forty years ago, the South Yuba River Citizens League began caring for the South Yuba River by advocating for dam removal and gaining Wild and Scenic protection. Today, their work encompasses the entire Yuba River watershed – from the Sierra crest to the valley floor. To celebrate SYRCL’s fortieth anniversary, they commissioned a film from […]


What To Do About Daguerre Point Dam? 

The Daguerre Point Dam was built in 1906 by the Army Corps of Engineers to prevent the flow of debris from upstream mining operations into the Feather and Sacramento Rivers. But an archaic design and a lack of maintenance have made the dam a key obstruction to the traditional spawning habitat of native anadromous fish […]


Clean the Dam Ladders UPDATE

Daguerre Point Dam fish ladders On January 13, SYRCL released a call to the public for signatures on a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers asking them to clean and maintain the fish ladders at Daguerre Point Dam. On average, fewer than 3,000 Chinook salmon return to the lower Yuba River annually, which is […]


Daguerre Point Dam: A History of Obstructing Salmon

SYRCL is asking the Army Corps of Engineers to help threatened salmon reach their spawning grounds by cleaning the fish ladders at Daguerre Point Dam. A meager 1% of their historic population remains, which was once robust enough to feed communities, wildlife, and the forest. Below we offer context to our request by outlining some […]


Accepting Applications for Environmentalist of the Year Scholarship

Now Accepting Applications for the Environmentalist of the Year Scholarship! Since 2002, SYRCL has awarded $4,000 scholarships ($1,000/year for four years) annually to students who have demonstrated an impressive commitment to the environment. The recipients are distinguished by their service, academic achievements, and extra-curricular activities. We are excited to continue this tradition and expand our reach. […]