Raft and Restore the Upper Sacramento River on Saturday, May 21, 2011

Great event sponsored by our good friends at the River Exchange. Here’s the press release:

The River Exchange is hosting their 3rd annual “Raft and Restore the Upper Sacramento River” event on Saturday, May 21st from 9am to 4pm. With help from local rafting company River Dancers Rafting & Kayaking and the U.S. Forest Service, this event presents a unique opportunity for river lovers to get involved in hands-on river restoration work while rafting eight miles of exciting Class 3 whitewater rapids.

The target of this restoration event is the prolific, non-native plant Scotch broom that has taken a firm hold of the banks of the river over the years. Scotch broom was introduced in California during the Gold Rush as packing material for whiskey bottles shipped from Europe . Also known by its scientific name Cytisus scoparius, Scotch broom is a perennial shrub which grows in sunny sites with dry sandy soil, and spreads rapidly through pastures, borders of forests, and roadsides. This yellow-flowered noxious weed spreads aggressively and is highly invasive, crowding out native species that provide food and habitat for wildlife. Scotch broom seeds can remain dormant for up to 80 years, a fact which makes removing these plants before they go to seed a high priority.

“This event is perfect for those who care about river health and crave an exciting whitewater experience,” says Chantal Langenfeld , owner of River Dancers Rafting and Kayaking. “Those who attend will learn how non-native species impact riparian areas and will directly help restore the river while being treated to over 20 good-sized Class 3 rapids over an eight-mile stretch of river. The $50 fee is a fraction of the normal cost of such a river trip, so it’s a great deal for your pocketbook, too.”

River Dancers Rafting & Kayaking will generously provide all rafting gear for the day, and the U.S. Forest Service will provide all the tools needed for the restoration work. Volunteers will help dig out plants and bundle them up to be retrieved by Forest Service employees. The Forest Service will then dispose of the plants without further contamination to the river banks.

Pre-registration is required. A $50 fee goes to support ongoing watershed education programs by the River Exchange. To sign up for this exciting stewardship and whitewater opportunity, call River Dancers Rafting & Kayaking at (800) 926-5002 or (530) 926-3517, or email them at rafting@riverdancers.com. You can also visit River Dancers at www.riverdancers.com.

The River Exchange is a non-profit 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting healthy watersheds through community involvement in education, stewardship, and restoration. For more information about the River Exchange call (530) 235-2012 or visit www.riverexchange.org.

For more information about Scotch broom and other noxious weeds, visit the California Invasive Plant Council website at http://www.cal-ipc.org, or call the Siskiyou County Department of Agriculture at (530) 841-4025.