River Monitoring Plan for the Yuba River Watershed

HRC or member-contributed


South Yuba River Citizens League


  View PDF

Recommended ReadingPublished   1/1/2020

The South Yuba River Citizens League’s (SYRCL) River Monitoring Plan addresses the most current, pressing water quality needs in the Yuba River watershed. Since 2000, SYRCL’s water quality monitoring efforts have been guided by current and historic impacts. SYRCL has developed and completed annual monitoring goals and is guided by a multi-year plan that assures continuity, direction, and program longevity. The goal of SYRCL’s River Monitoring Plan (hereinafter “the Plan”) is to document and justify the need for water quality protection and remediation efforts through targeted data collection efforts. It accomplishes this by posing, and answering, a series of questions using scientifically defensible data collection methods. The monitoring plan is built upon a framework that:

  • emphasizes specific water quality concerns
  • investigates the questions being examined
  • determines the data that will be collected and how it will be used
  • establishes SYRCL’s implementation priorities

This plan builds on over 20 years of water quality and citizen science data collection efforts and is guided by SYRCL’s members and volunteers, scientists, and the Yuba/Bear Monitoring Technical Advisory Committee. It incorporates watershed-wide strategies and accomplishments, providing a foundation for SYRCL’s ongoing water quality monitoring efforts. Our future efforts to monitor water quality will be guided by this multi-year plan and will allow SYRCL and its partners to address the most pressing issues in the Yuba watershed, through both community and scientifically driven studies.

Plan Overview 

Water quality monitoring and the data it produces provides the scientific basis for management and action in the Yuba River watershed. The data produces a defensible rationale for funding requests that are translated into partnerships and projects aimed at safeguarding and restoring the Yuba River watershed. Our River Monitoring Program increases our capacity by over 40 volunteers a month and allows SYRCL to directly address our mission – to unite the community to protect and restore the Yuba River watershed. Samples collected in the field are analyzed for water quality parameters and the data is reviewed and quality controlled by SYRCL through the Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP), approved by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). The data is online at RiverDB.org and submitted to the California Environmental Data Exchange Network (CEDEN) as a resource for many government and non-profit entities involved with stewardship of our aquatic resources.

SYRCL’s Plan articulates very specific concerns, questions to investigate, anticipated outcomes, methods to follow during investigation and exploration of constraints or challenges. These are discussed in detail in the Plan and cover specific investigation areas:

  1. Long-Term Monitoring Stations
  2. Mine Land Streams
  3. Dam-affected Reaches
  4. Restoration Success Monitoring
  5. Development Impacts in the upper South Yuba River Watershed
  6. Bacterial Contamination of Recreational Waters
  7. Nutrient and Chemical Runoff
  8. Invasive and Sensitive Species

This monitoring Plan will be implemented in phases, as funding becomes available through grants, collaborations, and SYRCL’s fundraising efforts. The River Monitoring Plan underscores SYRCL’s commitment to monitor baseline conditions across the watershed and address specific questions about water quality resulting from past data analysis and/or citizen concerns. SYRCL will also continue its work with important stakeholders such as local government, non-profit organizations, state and federal agencies, and universities to respond to concerns about water quality throughout the Yuba River watershed.

To date, SYRCL has conducted water quality investigations at over 150 sites within the Yuba River watershed.

More from our resource librarySee all

Decommissioning and removal › Recommended Reading   7/1/2013

The Elwha: A River Regains Its Power