Home is the Lower River
After traveling south for over 80 miles, the Russian River makes a sharp right turn at Forestville and heads west for about 25 miles where it flows into the ocean at the town of Jenner. Mark West Creek and Laguna de Santa Rosa are major watersheds that converge with the Russian River at the river bend.
The ambiance of the lower Russian River has changed relatively little in the last forty years. Visitors come here from all over the world to experience our paradise. The waterway is thickly lined with giant redwoods for most of its westerly course, and summer cabins are hidden on hillsides, riverbanks, and in deep interior canyons. About two thirds of the former cabins have been converted to full time use over the last 25 years.
The Russian River used to be one of the three greatest Steelhead fisheries on the North Coast. Fishermen flocked here from far and wide every winter to fish. It is only in the last fifty years, that their numbers have been decimated, and the Endangered Species Act has stepped in to play a major role in river management. It is one of RRWPC's major concerns however, that proposed projects to save the fish may be too little, too late, and may cause more harm to the watershed than bring protections for the fish.
The river also serves as a water supply source for about 600,000 urban dwellers in Sonoma County and Marin, as well as providing a source of water for extensive grape growing activities throughout the region. This has led to more focus on improved conservation, wastewater reuse, and better management of groundwater resources, to name a few. Yet, there is still much to be done.
And there is a dark side to all this. This area of extraordinary natural beauty and extensive natural resources is also extremely fragile. It is subject to large floods, massive slides, falling trees, high water tables, water quality problems, etc. It is concern for this fragility that has motivated RRWPC to devote our life's work over the last 37 years to preservation of the lower Russian River watershed. This website is testimony to that concern and represents our recent work to preserve it from the influences that would turn it into something less than what it is.
RRWPC Newsletter, May 2019: Flood, Sewage and Illegal DischargeThis mailer attempts to weave a wastewater story with numerous threads together into a single tale. Over the last ten years you have read about many of these threads separately, so none will be unfamiliar. It is of especial importance to those who rely on a septic system to treat waste, but should also concern those on central sewer, such as the Russian River County Sanitation District (RRCSD). Read on and let us know what you think. Thread 1: Imminent approval of two new regulatory documents…..The governor of California signed AB 885 into law on Sept. 27, 2000, calling for the development of new regulations for siting, repairing, and replacing Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS).Read More >>
RRWPC Newsletter, November 2019: Year in Review
West County wastewater issues were the primary challenge for RRWPC in 2019. It was notable that our local public treatment works (after two floods) had three separate spills that released over one million gallons of raw sewage at two Russian River County Sanitation District (RRCSD) manholes adjacent to Riverside Drive and Vacation Beach pump stations. Days before the second, and largest flood and spill (February 26th through March 2nd), the Regional Board bestowed their Russian River Stewardship Award to myself for RRWPC’s efforts in protecting Russian River water quality over many years. We were deeply honored by the acknowledgement, but as we would soon need to challenge their response (or lack of it) regarding the spills, Read More >>
RRWPC Comments on 2019 TMDL Action Plan, 6/24/19
As much as feasible, we have tried to limit comments to revisions only.
Hours before I completed these comments, I received the comments written by Rich Holmer. As an expert in the field of septic system management and public health, he expressed many of the concerns I shared (and more) far better than I could have done. I fully support his comments and admire his support of the needs of the community and individual property owners. I submit my comments as well in the hopes it can add to his fine work.
In looking at today’s Press Democrat (6-23-19) and this week’s Sonoma West Times and News, it is clear that issues and concerns discussed over the last several years about this project, are coming to a head. The Action Plan makes no adequate attempt to address the questionable need for perhaps unduly expensive professional inspections, lack of certainty regarding Read More >>
RRWPC Newsletter, September 2019: TMDL, Septic, and Sewage SpillRegional Board meeting on Pathogen TMDL…. Although not heavily attended, those who came out for the Regional Board Meeting on August 14th to take part in the hearing on the Pathogen TMDL, were very informed citizens on this topic, as many had been tracking the issue for years. (You can see entire meeting by going to: http://cal-span.org/static/meetings-RWQCB-NC.php Click on camera icon in box labeled August 14, 2019. A black box will come up mid-screen. Scroll down and click on message “download video”. This will take about a minute. The entire hearing took about three hours. There’s a horizontal bar beneath the video that you can move and skip around the various presentations.”)
Essence of RRWPC’s Presentation…
RRWPC has had some internal conflict on this issue as with no other. We have been torn between those aspects of the now adopted regulation that supports a clean Read More >>