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, February 2023: Russian River Update....
River Update…..As we come to the end of what felt like a very rough winter, spring appears to be peaking out. The rain has been wonderful for our reservoirs, but has taken its toll. I was walking in Armstrong Woods the other day and saw messes like I have never seen before. A State Parks worker told me the damage to the park has been far worse this winter than with the fire almost two years ago. These back to back crises have been difficult on all of us, but hope springs eternal and will come in handy as more massive changes are coming. Read More >>
RRWPC Newsletter, April 2023: Sewage Spills and RRCSD Repairs....
RRCSD illegally discharged millions of gallons of raw sewage over 17 years….Russian River County Sanitation District (RRCSD) illegally spilled almost 1.5 million gallons of raw or partially treated sewage into the Russian River during big storms taking place between 2007 and July, 2017. This is five times more than all other dischargers combined, including Santa Rosa and the Subregional system (Rohnert Park, Cotati, and Sebastopol). Then in late 2017, and February and March, 2019, sanitary sewer overflows caused another 2.3 million gallons to be spilled. Read More >>
RRWPC Newsletter, May 2022: Water Policy Changes on the Way....Drought again! Major water policy changes on the way….At a time when the Russian River is most at risk, and also because of it, a major convergence of issues and an associated massive shift in water policy is being gradually revealed by the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA). The proposal of many changes to occur over the next few years, stimulated by the need to address drought and greatly diminished Eel River water transfers, includes managed flows at a level we have seldom seen in our lifetimes. Read More >>
RRWPC Newsletter, August 2022: Russian River Update....
River Update…..It’s been a lazy summer this July with river issues seeming to take a little rest for the time being. We’ve settled in with the reality that many cha<