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Group Calls For Yuba River Cleanup As Debris From Old Highway 70 Bridge Becomes Visible

LINDA (CBS13) – The Yuba River is still flowing steadily despite the low level that it's at right now.

"We've got some major problems with our central valley rivers and we have for years," said James Stone of the Nor-Cal Guides and Sportsmen's Association.

But what's in the river has the president of the non-profit streaming with frustration.

"One of the things that's really transpired over the last three years is the uncovering of erosions of the original Highway 70 bridge," Stone said.

And issues with that erosion aren't just found on the riverbanks but also downriver.

"We've got tons of rebar here in the back. We got concrete. We've got residue, steel pipes laying in the center of the river," Stone said. "What really startles us is the safety and the navigation, especially with public safety and law enforcement and fire being able to access this river."

So they're calling on someone, hopefully, elected officials, to do something and clean up the debris and trash from the homeless.

Yuba County told CBS13 that getting rid of all of the debris from the old bridge is going to take a multi-jurisdictional and costly effort. The county said it's trying to address cleaning up the river step-by-step and dollar-by-dollar – starting with the trash left behind from the homeless living along the river and providing those individuals with the proper resources.

"Right now, everything has to be weighed, what's right in front of us and what's growing. That's not growing right now. Homelessness is. We're actually having great success in working with the homeless encampments," said Russ Brown, a Yuba County spokesperson. "As we do, we get less and less garbage and dangerous material away from our rivers. This might be in the future at some point and it may be a different agency all together that will take care of that."

Brown also told CBS13 the county does work with those agencies and will do what they can to address the debris at some point.

The county said it hears and knows the concerns of Stone and his organization. They hope that what they're calling for happens at a quicker pace.

"We are asking for people to stand up and fight for what you believe in, and let's get this cleaned up once and for all," Stone said.

Another issue with the navigability of the river due to the debris is also impacting Guides and Sportsmen's business and the spawning of salmon in the area.

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