May 252012

Frank’s Tract State Recreation Area – Delta Rare Plant Treasure Hunt

9AM, Saturday June 16th

Join Rivers for Change  and the California Native Plant Society on a Rare Plant Treasure Hunt and a fun day of paddling and botany on the Delta!  We can fit a few people who don’t have their own boats; others are encouraged to bring their own boats and paddling equipment.  The Delta is a hotspot for California rare plants, such as the endemic woolly rose mallow, Mason’s Lilaeopsis, and some plants growing underwater, such as the watershield (Brasenia schreberi) and eel-grass pondweed (Potamogeton zosteriformis).  Our search for these rare plants will take us to parts of the Delta that few people ever get to see!  This trip is for people who have some previous paddling experience, as we will cover at least 5 miles by canoe and kayak in order to reach Frank’s Tract State Recreation Area from our starting point, Andrea’s Cove.  Plan on a long day of paddling, so be sure to bring plenty of water, lunch, snacks, sun protection, and bring your botanical supplies (GPS, camera, hand lens) stored in waterproof containers!  To RSVP for this trip and receive detailed meeting information, to reserve a spot in a canoe, or ask any questions, send an email to the trip coordinator Danny Slakey (

If you’re interested in experiencing more of the delta by boat, you can join us on the Tuolumne River Trust’s Paddle to the Sea Delta Section. Be sure to Register or Donate as a Rivers for Change Teammember!

 May 25, 2012  No Responses »
May 112012
Mossbrae Falls

See more photos of our first two days on the Sacramento here.

Upper Sacramento: Box Canyon to Dog Creek

Our journey down the long Sacramento has begun. On Wednesday Kevin and Galen walked to the bottom of Box Canyon Dam, the official beginning of the Sacramento River. The river starts off fast and narrow. It is hard to believe its the same river that provides water to millions of Californians. The walk down to the river is an adventure in of its own, steep and rocky. A rope has been installed to offer assistance.

At the bottom you can see the dam holding back Lake Siskiyou.

The run begins with many fun class IV rapids. Only two miles down stream Galen and Kevin were joined by John and Danielle. We made our way down 23 miles to Sims Flat Campground. We had several duckie swims from Danielle and many great views of Mt. Shasta and Castle Crags. Its truly remarkable how beautiful this run is and only a hop, skip and jump from I-5. On Thursday, we jumped back in our boats at Sims Flat campground to make our way down to Dog Creek just above Shasta Lake. This is one of the best class three sections, lots of rapids and amazing scenery.

Mossbrae Falls above.

Above John is scrubbing a rock to collect an algae sample for Watercourse Inc, one of our jobs on the river for Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation.

Above Kevin is collecting data for his senior project, documenting and way-pointing invasive species along the banks of the river.

Above John, Danielle, Kevin and Galen stoked after a long first day on the river. Through team work this project will be successful.

Interesting facts about the Sacramento River:

  • The Sacramento watershed is 27,000 square miles roughly three times the size of New Jersey. The total
  • The river extends 320 miles from Box Canyon Dam, near Mt. Shasta City, to the San Francisco Bay.
  • There are 3 majors Dams: Mt. Shasta, Keswick, and Red Bluff.
  • There are 4 major diversions: Tehama- Colusa Canal, Corning Canal, Sacramento Deep Water Ship Channel, and California Aquaduct.
  • Major threats to the watershed include an outdated water supple and flood control systems.
  • You could be drinking water from Mt. Shasta in LA on any given day. WOW.


 May 11, 2012  No Responses »
May 062012
SJ Crew

Join us as we explore the Bay and paddle toward the Golden Gate and back with Rivers for Change and Sea Trek. This memorable trip starts at Sea Trek’s beach location in Sausalito. We’ll begin on the beach with a thorough safety orientation and instruction session, then launch for a leisurely paddle along the Sausalito waterfront towards the Golden Gate. The winds and currents will determine how close we get to the Gate. This is a magnificent way to experience the Bay offering dramatic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco skyline and Angel Island.

Time: 4 hours, meet at 10am at Sea Trek in Sausalito
Cost: $75
Experience Level: appropriate for beginners who lead a physically active lifestyle.
Tips: We will be paddling over lunchtime so be sure to bring snacks, a light lunch, and water.

We will be holding a BBQ (additional $10) post paddle if you’d like to join us for some lovely food and socializing.

Call 415-332-8494 to reserve your spot today!

We look forward to seeing you on the Water!

 May 6, 2012  No Responses »
May 032012
Galen on S. yuba above house

Rivers For Change:
12 Rivers in 2012

headwater |ˈhedˌwôtər; -ˌwätər
noun (usu. headwaters) a tributary stream of a river close to
or forming part of its source.

South Fork Yuba with Galen and Darin

Summit Run put-in on the S. F. Yuba

Today, we paddled the headwaters of the South Fork of the Yuba River. The Yuba River is a major tributary of the Feather, 1/3 of its flow, which eventually joins with the mighty Sacramento. The Yuba River has three major forks, North, Middle and South. For the 12 Rivers in 2012 expedition we decided on paddling the complete length of the South Fork, which flows from Donner Pass westward to the central valley. The South Fork is a dynamic river with every possible kind of paddling from flat water to Yuba Gap, one of the hardest day runs in California. The Summit Run as it is called starts within miles of the top of Donner Pass on highway 80. Smaller tributary streams flow in to the upper reaches of the river. Within just a short distance from the pass the river is carrying over 1,000 cfs. The water is cold to the bone and we do all we can to avoid being hit square in the face.

As kayakers and members of this expedition we get to personally see the changes in the river and surrounding areas as it descends in to the Valley. There is still snow along the banks hiding the white granite making these beautiful and natural roller coasters for us. The presence of humans and our impact is very apparent. About half way down there is a house right in the middle of the river surrounded by concrete. It seems oddly placed but no doubt they have the best view.

Below is a sequence of photos starting at the headwaters of the Yuba all the way to Englebright Reservoir show us how the river changes during its descent to the ocean. One section still eludes us this, Yuba Gap. Yuba Gap is a hard section to get on because of the very narrow window of good flow. As Darin says, “ 300 is too low and 400 is too high.” The levels of this section are controlled by the damn at Lake Spaulding the highest of damns on the South Fork Yuba.

Galen dropping into a slide sequence on the Summit Run, S. Fork Yuba River.

 Darin sliding into a cold pool on the upper S. Yub


The outflow of Spaulding Lake brings one of the hardest Cali day runs, Yuba Gap. This is a picture from 2011. Team RFC is still waiting for good flows for 2012.


Below Yuba Gap the river mellows out a little, Washington to Purdons section.


49 to Bridgeport is one of the most classic runs in California. Located low in the foothills this run starts running early in the season offering ideal training grounds for the harder runs that flow later in the season. This section stops just above Englebright Reservoir.


Danielle and Galen leaving Bridgeport for the 10 mile paddle across Englebright Reservoir.

Interesting facts about the Yuba River:

  • Watershed drains 1,340 Square miles
  • Over 100 diversion damns taking water out for irrigation and hydroelectric power
  • Biggest impact on the river came in the 19th century from hydraulic mining displacing 685,000,000 cubic feet of debris.
  • 100s of different Native American tribes lived along the upper reaches of the south fork Yuba.
  • The name is suspected to have originated from Spanish explores naming it after the Uva, meaning grape, which used to grow along the banks.


 May 3, 2012  No Responses »