The Yuba River is a beloved destination for both locals and out-of-towners, especially during summer months. The number of visitors to the river is growing each year and was particularly high this past summer due to COVID-related closures. The work of the Yuba River Public Safety Cohort (Cohort) has been especially critical, to keep visitors and the river safe. At the Board of Supervisors’ (BOS) Annual 2021 workshop, we will discuss our next steps to address issues raised by the Cohort and look at other open space recreation opportunities.
The Cohort is a multi-agency, multi-jurisdiction group that meets monthly to discuss and find solutions for the issues arising from the popularity of our river crossings. While drownings in the river tend to draw the most media attention - since 2014, there has been an average of 1.5 drownings each year – there are additional issues demanding significant public, non-profit and volunteer resources. Those issues include fire prevention, communication in the canyon, trash, parking, toilets, and the watershed’s health.
In an effort to reduce drownings, two Cohort members - Nevada County and State Parks – initiated a free life jacket program which provided free yellow life preservers at Bridgeport and the 49 Crossing. They were still being used regularly into late October and will be back next year. Perhaps in part due to that program, there were no drownings during the 2020 river season.
Other public safety initiatives spearheaded by Cohort agencies include:
- Distribution of a free bandana that doubles as a map of the river with safety tips
- A satellite call box at Purdon Crossing
- Satellite phones provided to the SYRCL/State Parks’ River Ambassadors
- An (ongoing) effort to install permanent vault toilets at Purdon Crossing
- The passage of a County ordinance prohibiting open flame in the Yuba River corridor.
- Increased County parking fines
- Increased enforcement of parking violations
- Increased visitor education and outreach by fire agencies
- Annual river cleanups hosted by SYRCL
- The building of additional parking near Edward’s Crossing – BLM
- A recent report identifying the highest public safety risks and the most impactful policy solutions, intended to help guide the Board of Supervisors’ objective setting in 2021.
In September of this year, YubaNet hosted a public town hall on behalf of the Cohort, to introduce the Cohort to the community and get input on the issues being addressed. Do you have river-related concerns or input? Please share them with me by emailing me or calling our office at 530-265-1480. To learn more about the Cohort, view the town hall meeting held on September 30, 2020 entitled Convo with the Cohort at YubaNet here.