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Fife Creek Bridge to Bridge Restoration Project - Guerneville - Russian River


Fife Creek Bridge to Bridge Restoration Project - Guerneville - Russian River

By Vira, The California Mermaid ® aka; Vira Burgerman

Our Bridge To Bridge Project runs from Highway 116 to Fourth Street in Guerneville, behind the Post Office adjacent to West Sonoma Inn, the Woods Resort, Dawn Ranch, Flavors and across from Safeway, with all above (except Safeway), donating to our restoration efforts. None of these businesses flooded during the last heavy storms due at least in part to our trash clean-up and restoration work. Houses upstream weren’t so lucky when the Fife Creek waters came up where no restoration work was done.

Fife Creek BEFORE restoration was clogged with trash and homeless camps

BEFORE restoration - Fife Creek homeless camp debris

Keep in mind, Fife Creek headwaters begin in our beloved Armstrong Woods. I took a walk up there with Dave Morton, our native plant expert, who goes to Armstrong often. It was my first time up to the headwaters. A gorgeous stroll, but to my surprise, there was no water flowing just pools drying up. I asked Dave, “why is there water in our creek below and none here?”

“This,” Dave said, is what people need to understand! While we think much of our creek waters have been filtered through the pristine redwood soils at Armstrong, that is not always the case. Most of the rainfall up there is intercepted and uptaken by the redwoods and not going into the creek as groundwater until some time following these early rain events..”

The water in the urbanized lower portion of Fife Creek has been filtered through the creekside properties. What is the effect of water running through our properties and into the creek? Ask yourself, what is the effect of water moving through your property and into the creek? And what about water that has run through the streets of our town and down through the storm drains and into the creek? Most of the time it is not good, as many of our activities encourage erosion and contamination, however this can be avoided through practices that will restore native habitats and native plants that have a role in creating the balance of our ecosystem, and that need to be here for our birds, butterflies and bees.

Later this month, you’ll have an opportunity to join in on a free native plant workshop demonstrating the role of native plants along the creek, and instruction on the creation of a bio swale. Bio swales that sink it, slow it, spread it. These practices will bring back native habitat and native plants that need to be here. Native plants create a buffer zone. Again, think sink it, slow it, spread it!

We need to increase the biodiversity of the creek and our properties.

Fife Creek Yard debris dumps and non-native plantsFriends of Fife Creek is also on a mission to educate people about how to identify and remove invasive plants such as ivy, non-native blackberry, vinca, and scotch broom, to name a few. We can do this! Friends of Fife Creek’s goal is to lead by example, and educate the public about invasive plants that are choking out trees and our creek. We want to educate the public, especially property owners, about plant biodiversity. And it’s important that people refrain from dumping yard waste into the creek and tributaries. For those who don’t know, Sonoma County is now enforcing the setback rules in an attempt to reduce the impact of agricultural-based damage caused by run-off.

Recently I was invited to present our work on Fife Creek, Bridge to Bridge Project at the Monte Rio School job fair, the first through the eighth grade learned about all the above and are looking forward to a field trip learning hands-on what they too can do in their own backyards. I was able to stress getting rid of the Ivy, and they were most mesmerized by a photo of a sea gull with its belly cut open and insides filled with plastics it had mistaken with food, getting the point across that garbage, small plastics and candy wrappers, that have washed down our street drains appear to be food when in their waterways. I think we can count on these students picking up garbage in the future.

Fife Creek Habitat gardens being watered by ViraWith the $2000 raised at our last fundraiser “Give-Back Tuesday” at the Rainbow Cattle Company, Friends of Fife Creek can build on our bridge to bridge project. The funds will be used to purchase tools, a shed, native plants and project signage, etc.

If you were at our finraiser at the Rainbow on February 3, you met the Friends of Fife Creek, learned about our project, and opportunities to volunteer.

We work on the creek on Thursdays, 10 AM till 2 PM. Even if you are not available on Thursday, call Vira to get on the volunteer list for a day that might work for you. And please, tour our Fife Creek any time and enjoy.

Community Clean Water Institute is the fiscal sponsor for Friends of Fife Creek.

To make a tax deductible donation, contact Vira Burgerman aka: The California Mermaid ®. (707) 484-8767 or email her

Thank You!

Fife Creek invasive species removal and bank restoration