Newsletter, November 2011: Lawsuit Update and Septics

Dear RRWPC Supporter:

My friend Sherrie visited the Russian River Estuary recently and shared her impressions of the natural scene: “John and I kayaked out at the mouth yesterday and it was extraordinary. The pictures don’t even begin to capture it.  The mouth was open and there were more birds than I have ever seen, including all sorts of gulls, scooters and pelicans.  We could also see dozens of harbor seals resting on the bank.  It was like life soup out there.  The weather was perfect, hardly any wind, bright, sunny and warm.  We keep reminiscing on this wonderful field trip, and wonder why we haven’t put in at the mouth before.  It was so fantastic and teeming with life!”
In stark contrast, the Estuary Project will utilize bulldozers on the Goat Rock State Park Dunes as many as 36 days a summer between May 15th and October 15th, in order to construct an outlet channel that allows river water to flow out, but forms a barrier to keep salty ocean water from coming in.  The goal is to develop a fresh water lagoon that provides fresh water habitat for Steelhead and Coho juvenile fish to grow fatter before their lengthy sojourn in the ocean.  There are many problems with altering this natural phenonomen for two species, including increased water quality degradation, possible loss of seals who leave area when mouth is closed, limited beach access during channel construction and maintenance, permanently lowered summer river flows, etc.  The worst part is that this is an experiment, and no one knows if it will work as intended.
These issues were outlined in the brochure we circulated with our last mailer.  You can view it again and read our project commentaries on our new website at