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Annual meeting on endangered fish in Russian River watershed

By: Brandon McCapes
March 5, 2021

Projects aiming to restore endangered and threatened fish, such as Coho salmon and steelhead trout, to the Russian River will be the main topic of reports and presentations at the annual meeting of Sonoma Water’s Public Policy Facilitating Committee from 2-4 p.m. March 9 via Zoom.

The Public Policy Facilitating Committee will meet to discuss the ongoing projects as part of a 15-year plan called, or Biological Opinion, leased by the National Marine Fisheries Service in 2008, according to a Sonoma Water press release. Under the plan, Sonoma Water has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “to modify Russian River water supply and flood control operations to prevent harm to endangered Coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout.”

Methods for accomplishing these goals are changing the management of the sandbar at the mouth of the Russian River between May 15 and Oct. 15, working to enhance the habitat of Dry Creek and reducing summertime flows into both the Russian River and Dry Creek. The Biological Opinion also calls for monitoring of fish populations in both rivers.

Sonoma Water is a special district created by the California Legislature in 1949 to provide flood protection and water supply services to Sonoma County. In 1995, additional legislation made Sonoma Water responsible for the treatment and disposal of the area’s wastewater. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors serves as Sonoma Water’s Board of Directors; however, the resource management agency is a separate legal entity with separate state funding.

“It has been the mission of Sonoma Water since 1949 to effectively manage the resources in our care for the benefit of people and the environment.  With more than two hundred dedicated professionals who work for Sonoma Water in a variety of fields ranging from engineering to biology, we strive to look forward, beyond today’s issues, to anticipate ways to advance our mission,” the Sonoma Water website states.

Interested members of the public are encouraged to visit to register.