School Programs

Environmental Education at Donner Summit


Riparian Habitat/streamside survey, wetland studies

Van Norden Meadow students at work

The students will hike into Van Norden meadow- located at the headwaters of the South Yuba

River. Here they will conduct a meadow/wetland habitat assessment that is part of an ongoing

study that Gateway is conducting in collaboration with the UC Davis Center for Watershed



During the assessment the students will each go to a study reach where they will:

  1. Collect and identify the aquatic macro-invertebrates (insects) that are indicator species for pollution and disturbances.
  2. Map their study site in plan form and cross section/profile.
  3. Survey their study reach for “herps” (amphibians and reptiles) and learn how to measure them.
  4. Learn how to measure the ground water level in piezometers (shallow ground water wells) throughout the meadow.
  5. Identify and measure meadow vegetation.


Data collected by the students will be used in ongoing research investigating the hydrologic function of the

meadow and the biology supported by this important and unique meadow ecosystem. We will

discuss impacts native populations, settlers, and modern development have had on the meadow

ecosystem and ask students how they think the railroad, sheep grazing, dams and roads have

affected the Van Norden Meadow and the South Yuba Watershed. We will then walk to assess

the impacts of erosion from the nearby ski slopes, and learn about restoration work to mitigate

those impacts. During this survey, students will learn about the work of wetland scientists, and

the many career opportunities found in wetland studies and restoration.


For More Information contact:

Peter Mayfield at 

(530) 205-6245

10038 Meadow Way - A Truckee, CA 96161