Faces of Yuba Water Kati Bednar, Hydrologist

Photo: Kati collects stream discharge measurements using her FlowTracker.

Yuba Water Agency's hydrologist, Kati Bednar, is part of the team that is responsible for measuring and tracking water throughout the Yuba River watershed and studying how it impacts river flows and groundwater levels. Scroll to learn more about Kati, her formal background and some of the hobbies that she enjoys in her free time.

What does your average day look like? Or what are some of your essential duties?

Every day is a different adventure. Usually, it starts with creating a daily water report that has a summary of the previous day's water conditions. Then, I usually head out into the field to collect flow measurements below our dams, along the boundary of the Yuba River watershed or at one of our canal sites. Lastly, I process and compare the data to previous visits.

Do your duties differ throughout the year? And if so, how?

Most definitely! When studying the movement of water, there are seasonal differences as Mother Nature brings it our way. October, November and December are end-of-year reporting times, so that means a little more office time than usual. From February through May, we sample the snowpack. Spring is our busy season as canals start flowing, which is the infrastructure that we use to deliver water to local farmers and ranchers. Throughout the summer we do routine maintenance on our water-monitoring equipment. Year-round we collect discharge flow measurements and groundwater level measurements.

Photo: Kati shows off properly-packed sandbags during a recent flood fight training with Yuba County Office of Emergency Services and local levee and reclamation districts.

What is your background/formal education that led to where you are in your career today?

I have a Bachelor of Science in Geology from California State University, Sacramento. I have always had a passion for anything outdoors. One of my favorite courses in college was "Natural Disasters," which led me to become a geologist.

How did you get involved in your current career path?

Throughout college and after, I worked for the United States Geological Survey at the California Water Science Center, studying groundwater, atmospheric gasses, soil chemistry, heavy metals, water quality, etc. Around 10 years later, I made the switch over to hydropower, where I had the opportunity to work on the beautiful North Fork of the American River for seven years before joining the Yuba Water team.

Tell us something about yourself that most of us don't know.

I own a small-scale beekeeping business where we specialize in pollination services, honey production, breeding queen bees for specialized genetics, youth outreach and unique produce. During the summer and fall (harvest time) we attend a farmers market where we sell our honey, beeswax products and community-supported agriculture produce boxes.

Kati and her fiancé, Tim, pose for a photo while exploring the Alabama Hills near the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada (top left). Kati pauses for a photo with a honeybee swarm before relocating the bees to a safer home. (top right). Kati rappels down a rocky section while canyoneering in Arizona (bottom left). Kati celebrates summiting Mt. Whitney after completing 211 miles by herself on the John Muir Trail (bottom right).

What do you enjoy most about working for Yuba Water?

Over the past few months, I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of friendly and genuine people. The environment is supportive and everyone works together seamlessly as a team.

What's the most recent app you downloaded on your phone?

While it's not the most recent, my most-used app is iNaturalist. I'm able to submit photos of plants and animals and the app helps identify them. It has even worked with underwater photos.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Free time? Who has that? Just kidding... Besides beekeeping, I enjoy traveling to other countries, scuba diving, backpacking, canyoneering, home renovation projects, raising livestock, woodworking, baking and teaching.