Caleb Dardick to step down as South Yuba River Citizens League director | TheUnion.com
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Caleb Dardick to step down as South Yuba River Citizens League director

SYRCL Executive Director Caleb Dardick, left, has announced his resignation. Nevada County Supervisor Hank Weston said Dardick and SYRCL proved to be powerful partners in advocating for local state parks at the state level.

After six years at the helm of the South Yuba River Citizens League, Caleb Dardick will step down as executive director following the 20th anniversary of the Yuba River Cleanup on Sept. 16.

"Working to protect the Yuba River has been the most rewarding work of my career. I cannot thank SYRCL enough for giving me this opportunity to serve the Yuba watershed community," Dardick said in a news release. "However, the time has come for me to return to the Bay Area to support my wife as she starts a new career there, just as she supported me in returning to the Yuba watershed in 2011 to lead SYRCL.

"I look forward to completing my memoir about my family's adventures traveling in a VW bus to India in the early 1970s before settling in Nevada County as part of the 'back to the land' movement, and coming of age along the banks of the Yuba."

SYRCL Board President Joe Bell said Dardick's leadership helped build on the organization's original mission.

“There is never a good time to leave a job you love. The Yuba will always be my home and I will continue to root for SYRCL’s continued growth and success.” Caleb Dardick

"When I helped found SYRCL more than 30 years ago to defend the Yuba against new dams, I never could have imagined what SYRCL has become today — a science-based organization with the capacity to truly protect the river and restore the watershed. SYRCL has thrived under Caleb's leadership, and though we are sad to see him go, we are deeply appreciative of his service," said Bell.

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"Today, SYRCL is leading the opposition to Centennial Dam on the Bear River," said Board Secretary John Regan. "Just as we stopped dams on the Yuba, I have no doubt we'll protect the Bear and Yuba rivers from this dangerous project. Just look at all the wins we've secured during Caleb's tenure: we worked with community groups and dedicated activists to keep the San Juan Ridge Mine from reopening, stopped a Canadian power company from building a hydropower plant at Daguerre Point Dam, held a leadership seat at the dam relicensing table, and we challenged an ill-conceived plan to trap and haul wild salmon around dams. Not bad work for just six years."

Nevada County Supervisor Hank Weston said Dardick and SYRCL proved to be powerful partners in advocating for local state parks at the state level.

"SYRCL was a prominent partner to the County of Nevada in creating a powerful coalition that not only saved the parks from closure but also secured millions in state funds to reopen the Bridgeport Covered Bridge and install solar power at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park," Weston said. "These significant accomplishments illustrate the power of local government, community-based organizations and engaged citizens working together to achieve shared community goals."

State Parks Chief Ranger Matt Green commended SYRCL's proactive response to the combination of state budget cuts that left the South Yuba River State Park understaffed as annual visitation exceeded 700,000 people coming to the park.

"Our partnership with SYRCL and the River Ambassador program has been a force multiplier," Green said. "Thanks to these dedicated and well-trained volunteers, the message that we all have a responsibility to keep the river clean and safe has reached over 28,000 visitors."

SYRCL's science-based restoration work from the Yuba's headwater meadows to the gold fields of the lower Yuba River has earned the respect of local and regional partners. Currently, SYRCL has over 1,000 acres of meadow restoration underway plus a half dozen salmon habitat restoration projects in the lower Yuba River.

Former Board President Elizabeth Soderstom said Dardick followed in the tradition of SYRCL directors leaving the community stronger.

"When Caleb started, I asked him to lead the community in a strategic planning process which resulted in a Strategic Action Plan with some very ambitious program goals — all of which Caleb has delivered on!" she said.

"There is never a good time to leave a job you love. The Yuba will always be my home and I will continue to root for SYRCL's continued growth and success," said Dardick. "Words cannot fully express my deep appreciation to the Board, Leadership Team, staff, members, volunteers, donors and community for your support and encouragement."

SYRCL is looking for a new executive director to start this fall.