Sonoma County summer
Stream Maintenance Program
2012 Stream Maintenance Program Balances Habitat Enhancement, Flood Control Conveyance
The Sonoma County Water Agency (Water Agency) on June 15 will begin stream maintenance activities in or near more than 50 streams throughout Sonoma County to restore conveyance capacity and maintain proper function of Water Agency flood control channels and retain or enhance appropriate habitat. Two localized sediment removal projects, eight reach-scale sediment removal projects, 21 Sediment Basin/Instream Basin/Reservoir Inlet clearings, and one bank stabilization and repair projects are also planned for completion. A complete list of streams included in this year’s Stream Maintenance Program (Program) is available online at www.sonomacountywater.org/stream-maintenance-program.
“Properly and carefully maintaining our community’s flood control channels and streams ensures that we balance the need for flood protection and protect the environment,” said Water Agency Chair Shirlee Zane. “I encourage everyone to take a walk near their neighborhood stream to enjoy the beautiful habitat.”
The Water Agency is responsible for maintenance and habitat restoration of 90 miles of local creeks and flood control channels. Each spring the Water Agency performs an assessment using a database and geographic information system to monitor stream conditions, prioritize work and document maintenance activities.
“By promoting and planting native vegetation, shaded canopies are created that help cool the water and shade out less desirable species of plants, which can catch debris and reduce the water-carrying capacity of streams,” said Water Agency Stream Maintenance Program Manager Jon Niehaus.
The Water Agency has worked in conjunction with the California Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the North Coast and San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Boards to obtain water quality certifications and permits for the Program. The permits allow the Water Agency to continue implementing its Program which ensures all maintenance activities are done in a manner that is protective and beneficial to the environment, and that maintenance activities are only conducted when necessary. In accordance with permitting requirements, Water Agency biologists and arborists survey the maintenance sites for nesting birds and oversee vegetation removal activities.
Portions of the maintenance activities will be conducted by young adults employed through this summer’s Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps (SCYEC). The youth will help remove invasive plants and clear trails. The SCYEC was created in 2009 by a partnership including the Sonoma County Workforce Investment Board, the Sonoma County Human Services Department, the Water Agency, the Sonoma County Office of Education and the nonprofit New Ways to Work. To date, about 700 young people have been employed through this program. The 2012 program will employ an additional 300 young people.
This year’s SCYEC will be funded by Workforce Investment Act dollars, with matching funds being contributed by the Water Agency. Kaiser Permanente, the Miranda Lux Foundation, and the Sonoma County Agricultural and Open Space have also contributed to the program and Friedman’s Home Improvement has provided deep discounts on the tools used by crew members. The 2009 SCYEC program was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
Learn more about the SCYEC.
The Water Agency urges members of the public to keep clear of maintenance activities and equipment as a safety precaution. Property owners living near a stream on the list will see work crews along with maintenance equipment, such as trucks used for hauling debris away from the streams.
The Sonoma County Water Agency is working to secure our future by investing in our water resources, community and environment. The Water Agency provides water supply, flood protection and sanitation services for portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. Visit us on the Web at www.sonomacountywater.org.