Wild turkeys, deer, ducks, Beavers, herons, bald eagles, Northern river otters and even mountain lions now call the goldfields home.
They were created during the California Gold Rush. Mining companies in the Sierra Nevada foothills blasted gravel hillsides with high-pressure jets of water—a process called hydraulic mining. Rivers and streams carried the flood of sediment—called slickens—down to the Sacramento Valley.
In 1893, the California Debris Commission began to dredge the Yuba near Marysville to mitigate the environmental damage, and piled the gravel along the river's banks, creating the irregular hills seen today.