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 Comments, November 28, 2017: Proposed Amendment for Recycled Water Policy
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed amendment to the Recycled Water Policy. Unfortunately, I cannot attend the Dec. 1st meeting in Sacramento, and while I would very much like to be there in person, I hope this letter with a few attachments will carry the same weight as a public appearance. RRWPC has submitted numerous comments to your Board on this issue over the last ten years. And while our basic concerns are unchanged, our understanding of the situation and the volume of the information available over the years has substantially increased and evolved over time. We hope you will read these new comments.
RRWPC Concerns Regarding Recycled Water Policy Proposed Amendment…RRWPC understands that there is enormous public pressure to seek out new water resources >Read More >>
RRWPC Newsletter, February 2018: Lower River Toxin Study
“When fish swim in waters tainted with antidepressant drugs, they become anxious, anti-social and sometimes even homicidal. New research has found that the pharmaceuticals, which are frequently showing up in U.S. streams, can alter genes responsible for building fish brains and controlling their behavior.” (Brian Bienkowski, Environmental Health News, June 12, 2013), and…
“Baby mice exposed in the womb to low doses-but not high doses- of bisphenol A (a known endocrine disruptor) were fatter and had metabolic changes linked to obesity and diabetes, according to a new study published Thursday.” (Brian Bienkowski, Environmental Health News, July 25, 2013) Read More >>
Email Update on RRWPC Issues, 1-1-2018
RRWPC wishes you a very happy, healthy, and prosperous new year. We appreciate your loyal support and believe the river would be in far worse shape without our strong advocacy and your help. There is much work to be done however, and the major fire last October greatly complicated things. Here’s a brief report on where things stand from our perspective and the projected direction of our work in 2018.
Fish Flow Project....The environmental comment period ended March 10, 2017. At first, we were told that responses to comments (next step in process) would be released by the end of the year. For the last several months we were told Read More >>
RRWPC Comments to NCWQCB on Implementation Plan for the Pathogen Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) (Appendix A of Staff Report Basin Plan), 10-9-2017)
Introduction…. This comment letter addresses the document entitled Implementation Plan for the Pathogen TMDL (Appendix A of Staff Report). The first 2.5 pages provide a brief summary of the findings in the Staff Report for this project and the rest addresses the implementation plan. Therefore, we request that you consider our comments on the Staff Report submitted on September 29th, as they are pertinent to the first part of the Amendment. We request that our written concerns be responded to for both the TMDL Pathogen Action Plan and the Basin Plan Amendment. Read More >>