Royal Gorge/Van Norden Meadow Update

Click here to download the update.

View Letters of Support for the Royal Gorge/Van Norden Meadow Update:

The Truckee River Watershed Council

The Nature Conservancy, American Rivers, SYRCL

The Sierra Business Council

Department of Fish and Wildlife

View previous Letters of Support:

The United States Forest Service
The Truckee River Watershed Council
The Nature Conservancy, American Rivers, SYRCL

Download Anne Chadwick's informative piece on meadow restoration at Van Norden Meadow,  "Just Add Water".

Click here for Yvon Chouinard's Op-Ed in the New York Times on obsolete dams.


            Photos of Van Norden Meadow Reservoir being lowered.


Report from the Field

The Land Trust hired a remarkable consultant and hydrologist named Lori Carpenter. Lori is also a certified wetland expert. Lori has been onsite at Van Norden Reservoir overseeing the release of the water in the reservoir back into the South Yuba River.

Lori Carpenter, PWS, CPESC, Hydrologist/Hydrogeologist

"A river (once) ran through the Van Norden meadow and will again; run wild, unfettered and flow in response to temperature and snow pack. I’m speaking of the South Yuba River above Lake Van Norden Reservoir.  I’m a hydrologist who worked with the Land Trust to responsibly release water from the reservoir. The water release was conducted under State regulatory directives and emergency protocols.  The actual spillway is not being disabled now, rather the impounded water was released such that inflow would equal outflow. The water release also supported other downstream fish flows.  

I’d like to share with you just a bit of the process of what’s it’s like to lower a reservoir and find a river. A river not seen since the turn of century when water was plentiful and environmental and building standards were far different than today. Each day as the pumping proceeded, volunteers from Save Van Norden Meadow monitored the lake level in conjunction with the historic Yuba River channel to protect both the channel and discharging water quality. Each day we saw a bit more of the historic Yuba and marveled at nature’s resilience, using kayaks to follow the River’s historic path.  Finally, there was the river, the Yuba. A river, renewed, waiting for spring, waiting to run. The work isn’t over, it’s just began and the Land Trust wants you to be a part of it."

Click here to view a map of the phased lowering.