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 2018: Update on LowFlow Project
The Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) had been working on responses to comments regarding Fish Flow (low flow) Project since comments were submitted on March 10, 2017, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Recently, SCWA staff announced that there would be a revision to the comment response schedule. When questioned further, senior staff informed us privately of the following (no official announcement yet).
The State Water Board staff requested that SCWA make major revisions to the document in order to clarify technical computer model analyses, but there may be other changes requested as well. We have no details as yet. Read More >>
RRWPC Newsletter, July 2018: Numerous River Issues Reviewed
The fire, the drought, atmospheric rivers, a warming environment and sea level rise, along with strong motivations for expansive economic growth, are all conditions currently demanding dramatic changes in water policy. Similarly, a history of poor groundwater management, and problematic land use policies have created urgent situations that need to be addressed. This letter describes some of the forces at work.
There is strong pressure for increased housing development in Sonoma County due to a dire housing shortage. More and more apartments are being built that will accommodate more people in smaller units. Read More >>
Report on 3/30/2018 PRMD Meeting: Septic Regulations
I attended the 3.5 hour meeting last Friday with the lead County Planner (Nathan Quarles: 707.565.1146) on the proposed new County septic regulations. Approximately 60 people attended and the whole time was devoted to answering questions of those present. Nathan stood in the front of the room and did his best to respond forthrightly and as completely as possible to almost all questions.
Comments have now been received and responded to on the OWTS Manual Revision (LAMP Part 2). PRMD’s response to comments. Revised OWTS Manual links: Clean version and Strikeout-Underline-Annotated version Read More >>
Update on Septic Regulations, and more: 5/1/2018
County Revisions on New Septic System Regulations and Notice of Board of Supervisors meeting date change for item:
Both the County and the Regional Water Quality Control Board are revising septic regulations in tandem with each other and consistent with new clean water requirements to be implemented this year. This message is an update on the most recent one sent about a month ago on this topic.