Efforts to promote resident and visitor safety at the South Yuba River are continuing. On Tuesday, February 19th, District 4 Supervisor Sue Hoek led the first Yuba River Public Safety Cohort meeting for 2019 discuss the year’s plan. District 1 Supervisor Heidi Hall and former District 4 Supervisor Hank Weston established the Cohort in 2017 to help coordinate the activities of the various public agencies, advocacy groups and homeowners within to develop and implement strategies around public safety and wildfire prevention.
Although beautiful, the South Yuba River is strong and has a high potential for wildfire. Every year someone drowns at the South Yuba River and, due high camping volumes and illegal campfires during the summer fire season, high winds could cause a fire to become unmanageable very quickly.
Partnerships and Efforts
Starting in January 2018, the group began convening monthly that includes District 1 and District 4 Supervisors, representatives from the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, Nevada County Executive Office, Nevada County Office of Emergency Services, Nevada County Public Works Department, California Highway Patrol, CalFIRE, Nevada County Consolidated Fire District, North San Juan Fire Protection District, California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks), Federal Bureau of Land Management, United States Forest Service, the Hub for Direct Community Action - Friends of Purdon Crossing Project, Yuba Bus, the Lake Vera Road Round Mountain Neighborhood Association and the South Yuba River Citizen’s League (SYRCL).
Last year, the Cohort provided several recommendations to the Board of Supervisors that included increasing the fine for illegal parking at Purdon Crossing and Edwards Crossing; launching a joint agency law enforcement taskforce to conduct sweeps on illegal activity and educating river visitors; installing an emergency call-box at Purdon Crossing; launching a satellite phone program in partnership with SYRCL’s River Ambassador program; partnering with Yuba Bus to allow river goers to park at the Rood Center and take the Yuba Bus to the 49er Bridge to alleviate illegal parking; awarding a grant for temporary restroom facilities at Purdon Crossing; launch a marketing campaign on river safety and creating a fire ban in the Yuba River basin to reduce wildfire risk.
Updates for 2019
At Tuesday’s meeting, a number of agencies reported good news on law enforcement and ranger staffing levels. Specifically, State Parks reported that they are fully-staffed for the first time since the Great Recession with six rangers, two sergeants and seven field staff that includes a new K9 Unit. Additionally, BLM reported that they will be hiring a full-time permanent ranger for Nevada County and State Parks offered to provide any needed assistance to BLM’s new ranger. The Cohort also discussed the need for a strong marketing campaign on river safety for 2019 due to a high snow park that will create dangerous swimming conditions come spring and dry brush susceptible to wildfire come summer and fall.
The Cohort will continue meeting monthly and will be working to develop its 2019 plan of action.