Fish Habitat Flows and Water Rights Project - Draft EIR


    About the Project

    On August 19, 2016, the Water Agency released the Fish Habitat Flows and Water Rights Project (Fish Flow Project) Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for public review. The Fish Flow Project DEIR describes the Proposed Project, the purpose of the project, why it is necessary and the potential environmental impacts of the project.

    The Fish Flow Project has five purposes:

    1. Comply with National Marine Fisheries Service’s Russian River Biological Opinion, which requires the Water Agency to ask the State Water Board to lower minimum instream flow requirements in the Russian River and Dry Creek in order to improve conditions for coho and steelhead.
    2. Improve conditions for threatened Chinook salmon, by better preserving cold water in Lake Mendocino, which can be released for the fall Chinook migration.
    3. Replace a measuring requirement in the Water Agency’s water right permits, called the “hydrologic index,” to better reflect conditions in the Russian River watershed.
    4. Extend to 2040 the Water Agency’s right to divert and re-divert 75,000 acre feet of water annually, in order to ensure a reliable water supply for more than 600,000 people.
    5. Add existing points of diversion for Occidental Community Service District and the Town of Windsor as authorized points of diversion in the Water Agency’s water right permits. (The Water Agency has agreements with specific entities, including Occidental and Windsor, that authorize them to divert water from the Russian River under the Water Agency’s water right permits using their own facilities. The proposed change would allow these entities to report water diverted through these existing points of diversion under the Water Agency’s water right permits, and would not increase the total amount of diversions.)


    How Can I Learn More?

    Start by reading the Frequently Asked Questions.


    Public Workshops

    The two initial workshops provided an opportunity for people to learn from staff about the project and the DEIR. No verbal public comments were taken during the open houses, although comment cards were available for people to provide written comments.

    • August 22, 2016 – Cloverdale Veterans Hall, 205 West 1st Street, 4-8 p.m.
    • August 24, 2016 – Monte Rio Community Center, 20488 Highway 116, 4-8 p.m.


    Public Hearings

    Three public hearings were held on September 13, 2016, in Santa Rosa, , on November 16, 2016 in Cloverdale and November 17, 2016 in Guerneville. The hearings included a presentation about the Proposed Project and an opportunity for public comments. The September hearing was televised and recorded.


    Public Review Period

    The public review period for the Fish Habitat Flows and Water Rights Project (Fish Flow Project) Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) closed on March 10, 2017. The 204-day public review period began on August 19, 2016. The comment period was extended to allow people additional time to review an errata released on January 26, 2017.


    Fish Flow DEIR Errata

    The errata was issued after resource agency staff asked a question about a specific water temperature graph in Appendix G, which resulted in Water Agency staff reviewing the figures again. The errata corrects temperature and dissolved oxygen figures of modeling results in the appendix. The error in the figures was a result of a labelling error, and does not change the Draft EIR impact analysis. The DEIR errata do not add significant new information or data regarding the project or environmental setting and would not substantially increase the severity of an impact or create a new significant impact.

    Fish Flow DEIR Errata (PDF)


    Review the Fish Flow Project DEIR:

    The Fish Flow DEIR can be read online, by clicking on “full document” or on each individual Chapter or Appendix.

    Printed copies of the Fish Flow DEIR and errata sheet are available for review at the following locations:

    • Sonoma County Water Agency, 404 Aviation Blvd, Santa Rosa, CA
    • Central Santa Rosa Library, 211 E Street, Santa Rosa, CA
    • Healdsburg Regional Library, 139 Piper St, Healdsburg, CA
    • Mendocino County Library, 105 N. Main St., Ukiah, CA 95482
    • Cloverdale Regional Library, 401 N. Cloverdale Blvd., Cloverdale, CA 95425
    • Windsor Regional Library, 9291 Old Redwood Highway, Building 100, Windsor, CA 95492
    • Guerneville Regional Library, 14107 Armstrong Woods Rd., Guerneville, CA 95446

    Flash drives of the full document can be purchased for $10 and paper copies of the document can be purchased for $75 at the Sonoma County Water Agency at 404 Aviation Blvd, Santa Rosa, CA.