Festival goers proved that SYRCL’s 12th Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival is indeed “where activism gets inspired” by participating in a letter-writing campaign to local and national elected officials.
Attendees made their voices heard by signing nearly 3,000 postcards on two urgent issues facing the Yuba River.
SYRCL volunteers collected more than 1,500 postcards that will be hand-delivered to U.S. Senators Feinstein and Boxer asking them to take immediate action to restore wild salmon to the upper Yuba River. Nevada County’s Board of Supervisors will soon receive another 1,300 postcards requesting their leadership in protecting the Yuba from the proposed reopening of a gold mine on the San Juan Ridge.
The local action targeting the board of supervisors was motivated by SYRCL and the San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Association’s concern that a proposal to reopen the San Juan Ridge Mine may threaten the Yuba River watershed.
Festival attendees were able to express their concerns about the mine by sending the supervisors a postcard with an image of King Midas, who foolishly asked the gods for the power to turn anything he touched into gold — with disastrous consequences. The postcard states that “water is more precious than gold” and an accompanying letter lists SYRCL’s concerns about the potential risks to the South Yuba River watershed and its tributaries, Spring and Shady Creeks, including impacts to water quality and quantity, fish and wildlife, and vegetation.
At the national level, U.S. Senators Boxer and Feinstein will be receiving 1,500 postcards requesting their leadership to authorize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to take responsibility for Englebright Dam, which it operates, and fund a “Yuba River Fish Passage” study as a key first step towards a full recovery of these imperiled fish. SYRCL plans to hand-deliver the postcards to the senators later this year.
SYRCL worked with Jennifer Rain, a local artist, to prepare an editorial cartoon captioned “Pay no attention to the dam behind the curtain.” This illustration points out the absurdity of the Army Corps’ abdication of responsibility for their dams.