Dear Russian River Supporter:
The Russian River’s running very low…..
Have you been to the river this summer? We visited Steelhead Beach recently (in Forestville) and watched a medium-sized dog standing in the middle of the river with the water coming only to his shoulders. That was in late June, when flows are generally much higher than in late summer. Between June 15th and July 3rd, 2008, flows at the Hacienda Bridge averaged about 125 cubic feet per second (cfs), which is the minimum required. (Average June flows for the last 45 years was 315 cfs, with 23 cfs the lowest average flow occurring in draught year 1977 and 1,418 cfs the highest in 1998.) In this very hot summer, we wonder if flows will go much lower during the recreation season?
The Sonoma County Water Agency recently held public meetings at three locations to explain this situation. Unfortunately, only about ten people attended the Guerneville meeting. Pam Jeane, Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) Deputy Chief Engineer of Water Operations, explained, “The dry weather, coupled with reductions in diversions from the Potter Valley Project, means we are experiencing a water supply situation very similar to last year. The Agency’s goal is to save 12,000-15,000 acre-feet in Lake Mendocino by the end of October, 2008. Water supply projections show water levels in Lake Mendocino falling to about 20,000 acre-feet by early fall, a time when the Agency would like to see at least 30,000 acre-feet in Lake Mendocino to release into the upper Russian River for three species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.” (Steelhead, Coho salmon and Chinook salmon) More »