Home is the Lower River
After travelling 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 32 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.
Guerneville Sewage Spill: Letter to Press Democrat, 2-15-14
Russian River Watershed Protection Committee has tracked Russian River County Sanitation District (RRCSD) sewer issues for the last 35 years. My comments quoted in your story on 100,000 gallon raw sewage spill (Feb. 15, 2014) need further clarification.
Unlike most Sonoma County treatment systems, West County is an extremely challenging and expensive area to construct a conventional sewer. Besides periodic floods, we have high water tables, weak soils, extensive underground tree roots from giant trees, and steep slopes with collapsing slides. The construction history of RRCSD involved multiple lawsuits between County and contractors. Read More >>
Sonoma County Gazette, March 2014
Major pipe break causes raw sewage spill into Russian River…. Leaking ‘water’ was reported near the Vacation Beach pump station late in the day on February 12th. When Water Agency crews were on site the following day, attempting to repair a leak, the 16” pipe broke and began spewing about 40,000 gallons an hour of raw sewage that ended up in the river nearby. It is estimated that about 100,000 gallons entered the river before a vacuuming operation began transferring the still leaking sewage to eight tanker trucks holding up to 5,000 gallons each and transporting it to the nearby treatment plant for processing. The pipe was repaired by early the next day.
This event came a few days after a four day period of heavy rain that dropped about a foot of water in the general area. Because of leaky pipes throughout the system, it is likely that excessive water entered the pipes. Read More >> http://www.rrwpc.org/rrwpc/sonoma-county-gazette-march-2014-guerneville-sewage-spill/#more-6299%27
RRWPC Letter to State Board, 1-15-2014
Dear Chairwoman Marcus and Board Members:
My name is Brenda Adelman and I am here representing Russian River Watershed Protection Committee (RRWPC). We are a nonprofit corporation working in the public interest since 1980 to protect water quality in the lower Russian River. We represent the concerns of hundreds of property owners, recreationists, and business people in our area.
RRWPC provided extensive comments to your Board on the Recycled Water Policy and Recycled Water Policy Amendment. We also provided similar comments to the North Coast Regional Board on the MS4 Permit as it deals with ‘incidental runoff’ as well as the North Coast Basin Plan Amendment dealing with the same topic. We commented to State Legislature on AB 2398 and 803, as well as supporting AB 145, but not Senate Bills 322 or 918 authorizing this reorganization as we didn’t hear about them in time. Read More >>
Santa Rosa Waste Discharge Requirements: 11-21-2013
RRWPC ADDENDUM #2 on Waste Discharge Requirements and Master Reclamation Permit for the City of Santa Rosa Subregional Water Reclamation System (Delivered in person to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.)
REPEATED RUNOFF BY IRRIGATORS CONTINUES YEAR AFTER YEAR
In my July 22nd comments, I made the case that numbers presented in the quarterly, annual, and other reports, provide evidence that numerous urban landscape irrigators are repeatedly cited for multiple and even frequent incidents of irrigation runoff. There is no indication in any of these reports of what action may have been taken to stop these violations which we just learned have been going on at least since 2005. (Some irrigators have been cited for irrigation runoff as a result of complaints, but none, to our knowledge, cited as a result of official reports.)
Two examples found in annual reports covering 2010 through 2012. The Spreckles Community Center in Rohnert Park had 27 runoff incidents in 2010, 20 incidents in 2011, and Read More >>
RRWPC Comments Renewal of N.P.D.E.S. Permit Russian River County Sanitation District, 1-27-14
(Email sent to North Coast Regional Board.)
I am submitting these comments on the Draft Permit for RRCSD on behalf of Russian River Watershed Protection Committee (RRWPC). We are a nonprofit corporation working in the public interest since 1980 to protect water quality in the lower Russian River. We represent the concerns of hundreds of property owners (ratepayers), recreationists, and business people in our area. As you know, we have provided testimony on the RRCSD wastewater disposal system over that entire time.
RRWPC provided extensive comments to the State Water Board on the Recycled Water Policy and Recycled Water Policy Amendment. We also provided similar comments to the North Coast Regional Board on the MS4 Permit as it deals with ‘incidental runoff’ as well as the North Coast Basin Plan Amendment dealing with the same topic. We commented extensively, as you are aware, on the Reclamation Permit portion of Santa Rosa’s new NPDES Permit. Read More >>
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