- Author: Alexandra Stefancich
Kindergarteners from GVCS visited over two days for a fun-filled science field day. Students were able to hunt for benthic macroinvertebrates, look at decaying salmon carcasses, search for salmon redds (the nests that they build to lay their eggs), and understand the challenging lives that salmon have by acting out the stages of their life cycle. Students loved their field day, saying they "couldn't choose a favorite thing, it was all so fun!" Another student noted that "I am happy to be a human. Being a salmon seems hard."
The opportunity to see these natural wonders first hand can have a lasting impact on student learning. SFREC is dedicated to increasing the number of hands-on science field days it offers to local students. This spring we will be offering field science trips for 4th and 5th graders where they will learn about a variety of science concepts and field science techniques. For more information about these field science days please contact Ali Stefancich at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The parcel, which is adjacent to the UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center (SFREC) in Browns Valley, will be managed by UC to protect its natural resources. The transaction closed January 29.
Located on the Yuba River, the Narrows property is 60 miles northeast of Sacramento. UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center has more than 5,700 acres of rangeland for scientists to study critical rangeland issues.
Cattle grazing is a major tool to manage vegetation on rangelands and to enhance rangeland ecosystems. Although the Narrows land is too steep for grazing, it can be used to study a suite of critical natural resource processes.
“This is the first of several land transfers from PG&E to a public agency in the Yuba River watershed and the only in Yuba County,” said Marty Coleman-Hunt, Bear Yuba Land Trust executive director. “It's the culmination of over a decade of planning and work with local conservation groups and the Stewardship Council. The permanent protection of this land below Englebright Dam is critical for the health of the important Yuba River salmon fishery and public recreation for the lower Yuba River.”
“In partnership with the many organizations that make up the Stewardship Council, PG&E is pleased to permanently protect the natural resources and beauty of the Narrows parcel and watershed lands associated with our hydroelectric system for the benefit of current and future generations,” said Mike Schonherr, manager of PG&E's Land Conservation Commitment Department.
The center additionally offers many educational features including a series of nature trails and an education center on the Yuba River, which can be used by schools and community groups for outdoor education and outreach events.
Bear Yuba Land Trust is a non-profit, membership-supported group that promotes voluntary conservation of natural, historical and agricultural resources in the Bear and Yuba watersheds of the Sierra Nevada foothills. Each year, BYLT's stewardship team will monitor the conservation easement at the Narrows for conservation values like documenting the presence of native plants and animals. BYLT will hold the development rights forever, meaning the land will be permanently protected as a natural place and remain undeveloped.
For more information about PG&E's transfer of the Narrows property, visit http://www.stewardshipcouncil.org/land_conservation/planning_units/narrows.htm.
For more information about the UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center, please visit http://sfrec.ucanr.edu.
- Author: Maddison Easley
A collaborative effort involving the Pasternack Lab at UC Davis, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, Englebright Dam representatives, private contractors, and the UC Sierra Foothill Research & Extension Center has made significant headway in enhancing spawning habitat for anadromous fish on portions of the lower Yuba River.
Since 2007, more than 15,000 tons of triple washed gravel and cobble has been deposited (watch the time lapse video here) during periods of low flow in the stretch of river downstream from Englebright Dam, between the Narrows II and Narrows I powerhouses. During high flows a portion of this material is washed downstream.
Chinook salmon is the key species this project aims to impact. Ideal conditions for spawning include a flow of 1.5-2 feet per second (fps) and a depth of two feet. With the material deposition, expanded habitat is being created to encourage additional spawning. Even with a very limited volume of coarse aggregate added, over 100 salmon redds were documented between September of 2009 and February of 2010. This finding suggests that with additional deposition, a spring run for the salmon is definitely a possibility. Ultimately, having higher populations of fish will enhance the surrounding ecosystem and benefit all users of the lower Yuba River.
The summertime injections began this season again in late June and will continue until the end of August. Beginning in September, anadromous fish will be seen in the stretches of the lower Yuba to complete their life cycle.
Sources: UC Davis, Gregory Pasternack Lab
- Author: Ben Granholm
Nearly 60 individuals gathered at SFREC for the 6th Annual Lower Yuba River Accord Symposium on July 15th to dive into the history, management and future of the Lower Yuba River. Attendees listened to presentations and asked questions of those involved in the river's preservation.
Speaking on the goals of the River Management Team and the current Monitoring and Evaluation Program, Tom Johnson of the Yuba County Water Agency discussed efforts to develop optimum flow schedules, record temperature performance and ensure the smooth implementation of Yuba Accord operations.
Looking at the year-round temperatures of the Yuba River, Casey Campos and Duane Massa with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, talked of what these temperatures mean for the spawning and livelihood of fish inhabiting the river, particularly the habitats of the Chinook salmon. Campos explained that the Yuba River is among the coldest in the Central Valley.
Symposium coordinators, Gary Reedy of the South Yuba River Citizen League spoke on the need for habitat enhancement, giving a summary of previous actions, while Beth Campbell of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) discussed enhancement initiatives implemented by FWS.
The symposium concluded with lunch at the Yuba River Education Center, followed by a float down the beautiful Yuba River.
- Author: Megan G Osbourn
Just another beautiful day at the Sierra Foothill Research & Extension Center! SFREC is located just 60 miles north of Sacramento in Browns Valley, bordering both Englebright Lake and the Yuba River.