Changes to the Flows in the Russian River
Background | Estuary | Flows | Dry Creek | Fisheries | Mirabel | Public Outreach
Biologists with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) have concluded that current flow levels in the Russian River and Dry Creek during the summer are too high for young coho salmon and steelhead. NMFS biologists believe that reducing summertime flows in the Russian River and Dry Creek would provide better fishery habitat by reducing velocity, minimizing the need to artificially breach the sandbar at the river mouth, and potentially improving estuary conditions for steelhead by allowing the formation of a freshwater lagoon.
Fish Habitat Flows and Water Rights Project
The Water Agency is preparing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Fish Habitat Flows and Water Rights Project (Fish Flow Project). The EIR will be prepared by the Water Agency in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the State CEQA Guidelines, and the Water Agency’s “Procedures for the Implementation of CEQA.” The Water Agency will be the lead agency and will consider all comments from responsible and trustee agencies, property owners, and interested persons and parties regarding the scope and content of the information to be included in the EIR. The Fish Flow Project is required by the 2008 National Marine Fisheries Service’s Russian River Biological Opinion. Comments on the Notice of Preparation closed on Monday, November 12, 2010.
- Download Fish Habitat Flows and Water Rights Project: Notice of Preparation of Environmental Impact Report
- Watch Video of Open House Scoping Meetings Presentation
- Download a Primer of Common Terms, a map illustrating Water Rights Permits, and a map illustrating the Proposed Project.
- Russian River Biological Opinion
- Water Agency’s Petition to the State water Board for Permanent Changes in Decision 1610
Decision 1610 Permanent Flow Changes and Related Petitions
The Russian River Biological Opinion, issued in September 2008 by the National Marine Fisheries Service, requires the Sonoma County Water Agency to file for permanent changes in the minimum instream flow requirements, which are established in the Water Agency’s water rights permits and State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) Decision 1610, within a year of issuance of the Biological Opinion. On September 23, 2009, the Water Agency filed the required petitions to amend the Water Agency’s water rights permits.
On August 16, 2016, the Water Agency requested that the State Water Board cancel the petitions filed on September 23, 2009, as well as the outstanding time extension petitions for Permits 12949, 12950 and 16596 that were filed on October 11, 1999, and filed new petitions for revised permanent changes to the Decision 1610 minimum instream flow requirements, revised time extensions, and modifications to the hydrologic index that assesses hydrologic water supply conditions in the watershed.
- Petition for Change (9/23/2009)
- Notice of Petition (1/13/2010)
- Amended Notice (2/26/2010)
- Second Amended Notice (3/29/2010)
- Letter to contractors (3/11/010)
- Petition for Change to Permit 12947A (Application 12919A), (8/16/2016)
- Petitions for Change and Time Extension to Permit 12949 (Application 15736), (8/16/2016)
- Petitions for Change and Time Extension to Permit 12950 (Application 15737), (8/16/2016)
- Petitions for Change and Time Extension to Permit 16596 (Application 19351), (8/16/2016)
- Notice of Petitions for Change and Petitions for Extension of Time (9/23/2016)
- Revised Notice of Petitions for Change and Extension of Time of Permits 12947a, 15736, 15737, and 19351 (11/22/2016)
- Notice of Petitions for Change and Petitions for Extension of Time, Second Revision (2/3/2017)
Temporary Urgency Change Petition for Summer Russian River Flows
The Temporary Urgency Change Petition was submitted as required by the Russian River Biological Opinion issued by NOAA National Marine Fisheries Services. The Petition requests that the Division of Water Rights act expeditiously to approve the requested changes to minimum in-stream flows as identified in the Biological Opinion.