Home is the Lower RiverAfter 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.
Brief history of Russian River Low Flow
The Russian River, flowing in a southern and then western direction, drains 1,485 square miles of Sonoma and Mendocino counties in Northern California and is 110 miles long. Its headwaters are about five miles northeast of Ukiah in Mendocino. The northern part of the river receives some of its flow from the Eel River through the Potter Valley Project. More details describing the physical location can be found on Wikipedia.
Significant tributaries in Sonoma County portion include Dry Creek, Mark West Creek (including the Laguna de Santa Rosa),Green Valley Creek, Fife Creek, Hulbert Creek, Dutch Bill Creek, and Austin Creek. Read More >>
RRWPC Newsletter, September 2017: Pathogen TMDL: Guerneville meeting coming up soon!
Two regulatory actions currently proposed by the Regional Water Quality Control Board will soon have a significant impact on the lives of many river property owners: they are the Russian River Watershed Pathogen Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Action Plan (Action Plan) and the Basin Plan Amendment.
The goal of the Plan is expressed as follows: “Discharges containing fecal waste material from humans or domestic animals to waters of the state within the Russian River Watershed that cause or contribute to an exceedance of the bacteria water quality objectives not otherwise authorized Read More >>
RRWPC Newsletter, June 2017: Fish Flow DEIR UpdateAgencies now responding to comments on low flow project….. On March 10, 2017, when RRWPC submitted our comments on the 3600-page Fish Flow Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR on low flow), a huge burden was lifted from our shoulders and shifted to the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) staff who then began their written responses to the issues raised and questions asked about the project intended to permanently lower summer flows in the Russian River. (Final responses from the agency probably won’t be out for over a year.)
We have now entered into a period when public review has temporarily ended and a multitude Read More >>
Water Quality Trading Framework for the Laguna, 7-21-2017These comments apply to Resolution NO. R1-2017-0027 and the attachment entitled: Water Quality Trading Framework for the Laguna de Santa Rosa Watershed.
Introductory Comments: RRWPC wants to support this program, but we are informed by our experience with the Biological Opinion that public input is essential if a new program, especially one as complicated as credit trading, is going to succeed. It is significant that credit trading has failed in many places (outside of California) to accomplish its goals, and therefore it is essential that this program have a healthy and vigorous public involvement component. Read More >>