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Sonoma County Gazette
Russia River Estuary
Russia River Estuary at Jenner where a channel flushes fresh water into the sea

Russian River Estuary Project Meeting May 15

Apr 26, 2017


The Sonoma County Water Agency will hold its annual meeting on Monday, May 15, 2017 to update the community on the Russian River Estuary Management Project. The meeting will be held at the Monte Rio Community Center, 20488 Highway 116, Monte Rio, from 6-7:30 p.m.

The meeting will consist of a presentation on the Russian River Estuary Management Project, which will include information about the annual outlet channel management plan, and updates on the estuary water quality monitoring and pinniped monitoring programs. There will be a question and answer session following the presentations.

The Biological Opinion issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service in September 2008 required the Water Agency to change the way the estuary is managed in the summer. The purpose of the Estuary Management Project is to enhance summer habitat for young steelhead while minimizing flood risk in the estuary. The May 15 meeting is the ninth community meeting discussing the estuary since the Biological Opinion was issued.

“We know there is always a lot of interest in the estuary management project from folks in the lower river communities,” said Water Agency Director Lynda Hopkins. “Estuary management is one of the keys to the success of implementing the Biological Opinion. The annual community meeting is a chance for residents to receive regular updates on the Estuary Management Project. It provides a great opportunity to receive current information and ask questions.”

Since the mid-1990s, the Water Agency has artificially breached the sandbar when it closes and increasing water levels in the estuary threaten low-lying properties. The Biological Opinion calls for managing the estuary as a summer lagoon with an outlet channel in place to enhance conditions for steelhead to grow and thrive, giving them a better chance to survive ocean conditions, while continuing to minimize flood risk.

For more information about the Russian River Estuary Management Project or contact Barry Dugan, at 547-1930 or


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