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Know your nonprofit: South Yuba River Citizens League

Submitted to The Union

What is your mission statement?

The South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL — pronounced circle) unites the community to protect and restore the Yuba River by advocating stewardship, educating the public and inspiring activism from the Sierra to the sea.

How many paid employees do you have?

11 full-time employees.

What is your nonprofit’s history?

Since 1983, SYRCL has worked to protect the Yuba River. We formed to prevent new dams from being built on the South Yuba. Thirty years later, we are widely recognized as one of the most effective watershed groups in the United States, supported by 3,500 members and 1,000 volunteers.

Who is your primary audience?

SYRCL serves diverse audiences of all ages in the Yuba watershed, including Nevada County residents as well as tourists who visit the area for our annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival (4,500 annual attendees) and other programs throughout the year. We are a key partner for the South Yuba River State Park, which draws 650,000 visitors annually.

List the biggest achievements in your nonprofit’s history (up to three).

1. Our advocacy led to winning State Wild & Scenic River Act protections for the South Yuba River in 1999.

2. When the Governor tried to close the 20-mile long South Yuba River State Park in 2011, SYRCL organized hundreds of volunteers who collected more than 10,000 petition signatures in 30 days, which helped save the park from closure. In 2014, we helped secure state funding to repair and reopen the Bridgeport Covered Bridge as well.

3. We’ve built a sustainable community organization with a powerful army of volunteers.

List the biggest three challenges you face.

1. Securing sustainable funding for our river science, outreach and education programs.

2. Restoring wild salmon requires regional collaboration and consensus.

3. Our work on large-scale ecosystem restoration throughout the entire 1,340-square-mile Yuba watershed is extremely time-sensitive. It is not fully known how climate change, salmon populations, or natural resource management policy in the ensuing decades will impact the watershed.

What is your No. 1 short-term goal?

Expand our membership base and outreach watershed-wide, and recruit a core group of “Emerald Circle” donors willing to donate $100/month or more to support our educational and advocacy work.

When are your major events & fundraisers?

Wild & Scenic Film Festival (January)

State of the Yuba (Wednesday)

Wild for the Yuba (June 6)

Annual Yuba River Cleanup & Restoration Day (Sept. 19)

What is the best way a person interested in your organization could help?

1. Become a member or give the gift of a SYRCL membership.

2. Sign up to volunteer.

3. Host a filmmaker for Wild & Scenic Film Festival.

Contact information:

Membership: Daryn Glassbrook, development director, daryn@syrcl.org, 530-265-5961 x214.

Film Festival Host: Jess Swigonski, filmmaker liaison, jess@wildandscenicfilmfestival.org, 530-265-5961 x219.

Volunteer: Jenn Tamo, River People manager, jenn@syrcl.org, 530-265-5961 x201.

How have you benefited from being a member of Center for Nonprofit Leadership:

We appreciate the CNL get-togethers as well as board and staff training workshops.

SYRCL is a member of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership, which provides the weekly Know Your Nonprofit feature. You can learn more about The Center for Nonprofit Leadership online at http://CNLSierra.org. The Center is on Facebook at http://facebook.com/NevadaCounty NonProfitLeadership and Twitter @NevCoNonprofits.

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