Biological Opinion and lower river flows are up for review again…..Public comments on the Russian River Fish Flow (Low Flow) Environmental Impact Report (EIR) were due in mid-March, 2017. There was no deadline for the Water Agency’s response, but every year since, the release date for responses has been pushed back. These responses and then a hearing before the State Water Board would have probably led to permanently
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.
Think positive, spring is around the corner….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.
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 changes are brewing behind the scenes and some of the issues will explode with activity soon. We’re not sure how we will keep up and if anyone has interest in helping us photograph the river, provide expert testimony, or help with letter writing campaigns, please let us know.
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.