Fish Habitat Flows and Water Rights Project - Draft EIR

    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 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 Hearing

    September 13, 2016 –Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 575 Administration Drive, Santa Rosa, no earlier than 3 p.m. The hearing included a presentation about the Proposed Project and an opportunity for public comments. The hearing was televised and recorded.


    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 are available 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,
    • 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


    How can I share my comments?

    Note: the public comment period will be extended beyond the original October 17th deadline, and additional public hearings will be held. The new dates will be announced by the Water Agency Board of Directors on October 4. New information will be posted to this webpage. View the press release for more information. 

    You can provide written comments to the Water Agency. The 60-day public review period begins on August 19. All comments are due by 5 p.m., October 17. Written comments can be sent to or mailed to:

    Sonoma County Water Agency
    Attn: Fish Flow DEIR
    404 Aviation Boulevard, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

    You can provide verbal comments by attending the public hearing on Tuesday, September 13, no earlier than 3 p.m., at the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 575 Administration Drive, Room 100 A, Santa Rosa.


    About the DEIR

    The DEIR was 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 is the lead agency and will consider all comments from responsible and trustee agencies, property owners, and interested persons and parties regarding the information included in the DEIR..