SYRCL awarded state grant for wildfire resiliency efforts

Feb. 24—The South Yuba River Citizens League is one of 15 entities recently awarded funding through California State Parks Foundation Wildfire Resiliency and Prevention grants to examine the impacts of wildfire and suppression techniques on a variety of habitats, animals and waterways.

SYRCL will receive close to $10,000 to provide funding for water quality monitoring in areas impacted by the Junes Fire last year to determine how fire suppression techniques, including vegetation removal and the use of fire retardant, impact water quality in Rush Creek and the South Yuba River.

The data collected during the monitoring will help California State Parks better manage potential negative impacts from future fire suppression efforts, including algae blooms associated with increased phosphorus and ammonia from fire retardant and increased sediment in the river.

"In addition to informing fire suppression techniques, this new California State Parks funded research complements SYRCL's 20 years of river monitoring data by allowing us to gather more in-depth water quality information at three long-term sites already established around Jones Bar," said Karl Ronning, a hydrologist with SYRCL who will lead the project, in a press release.

The grant funding will also be used to examine first-flush conditions in the area — or the conditions right after the area's first large rain events — that will give a better picture of how quickly the watershed can dilute elevated bacteria levels in the South Yuba River.

Overall, $135,000 was awarded to 15 state parks and park partners to help parks recover from devastating wildfires that occurred in 2020.