12 Rivers in 2012

Paddling a dozen California rivers from source to sea

Galen Licht on the Lower Yuba. Photo: Darin McQuoid


An unprecedented source to sea expedition is underway in California this year. Danielle Katz and John Dye, co- founders of Rivers for Change, and Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC), a non-profit providing the opportunity for adventurers to partner with scientists on their expeditions, have launched the “12 Rivers in 2012” campaign, a year long project where Katz and Dye, along with two other core groups of paddlers, intend to travel 12 of California’s most important waterways from source to sea collecting data for climate change research. And by “data,” they mean “algae”.

ASC founder, Greg Treinish, matched the duo with Deas, a fresh water ecologist at Watercourse Engineering, Inc., who has been studying the flow, temperature, and water quality of many of the rivers they plan to paddle, and he thinks studying the presence of different species of algae can help determine effects of climate change on rivers. So that’s exactly what Katz and Dye are going to do: collect algae samples throughout the entire length of 12 rivers in California. And Deas is happy for the paddler’s help. “Ideally, we will learn through this effort [with ASC] and refine and broaden our approach for long term monitoring of rivers and streams,” he says.

The team began their journey in January with the Lower Yuba, and on May 9 they put in on the Sacramento River. From there, they plan to travel the lengths of the Salinas, Los Angeles, American, Tuolumne, Merced, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Mokelumne, Klamath, and Feather rivers.

This weekend, on Sunday, May 13, Katz and Dye are also inviting members of the community to join them in Redding, Calif., for a Community Conservation Paddle. They also plan to host several more Community Conservation Paddles along to way to spread the word about the importance of conservation and climate research.

To find out more about the project, go to RiversForChange.org, or check out the blog post at Adventureandscience.org/blog or the ASC website at Adventureandscience.org.

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