Sonoma County Gazette, April 2013

Nutrient Reduction Programs Currently Center Stage

Laguna & Russian River are loaded with nutrients….

In August, 2009, when the lower Russian River was running at less than 50 cubic feet per second (125 cfs is normal) as measured at the Hacienda Bridge, algae and invasive Ludwigia were visible almost everywhere.  Clumps resembling turds floated on the water’s surface, and snaky plants with long arms branched out from the bottom where they were attached and felt slimy to the feet, as chartreuse moss clung to pebbles and stones, and invasive Ludwigia hugged the river’s shore for miles on end.  (See 2009 Photo Project at

Excessive nutrients, in this case mainly nitrogen and phosphorus, significantly stimulate algal growth and have the potential to enormously degrade water quality, especially during hot, low flow conditions.  These nutrients can bind with sediments and travel great distances downstream to be later deposited and released in other environments.