$517,000 Grant for Laguna de Santa Rosa Restoration Awarded to Local Partners
For Immediate Release - February 24, 2017
(Santa Rosa, CA) On Tuesday, February 21, the Sonoma County Water Agency (Water Agency) Board of Directors adopted a resolution supporting the development of the Laguna-Mark West Creek Watershed Master Restoration Planning Project (project). Made possible by a $517,000 grant from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the project includes development of a comprehensive restoration plan for the Laguna-Mark West Creek watershed and early implementation plans for one or two high-priority projects identified in the restoration plan.
“The Laguna de Santa Rosa and lower Mark West Creek are incredible natural resources and paramount to the future health of the entire Russian River Watershed,” said Sonoma County Water Agency Director James Gore. “This grant will help us make the Laguna healthier for wildlife, water quality and landowners while supporting the greater purpose of a thriving and resilient Russian River watershed.”
Project partners include San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) and the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation (Laguna Foundation). In action approved by the Water Agency Board, SFEI will develop the restoration plan, with the goal of improved ecosystem functioning through identification of a suite of stream and wetland restoration projects. Overall, the plan seeks to improve streamflow, water quality, critical habitat for migration and rearing of endangered and threatened species, especially California Central Coast coho salmon and steelhead.
The Laguna Foundation and the Water Agency have been working together since 2004 on efforts to improve the health of the Laguna. In the actions approved by the Water Agency Board, the Laguna Foundation will assist with conceptual design of the plan, identify and prioritize projects, and assist with community outreach.
“For several years, the Laguna Foundation has been working with landowners and stakeholders on improving the health of this incredibly rich waterway,” said Laguna Foundation President Dianne Smith. “The grant and the matching funds provided by project partners are a huge step forward in developing a comprehensive solution to the Laguna’s problems.”
The grant, funded by the voter-approved Proposition 1, and allocated through the Watershed Restoration & Delta Water Quality and Ecosystem Restoration Grant Programs, will be matched through contributions from multiple partners. The restoration plan will build on a series of historical ecology studies of the Laguna conducted by SFEI, and partially funded by a grant from the State Water Resources Control Board.
The Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed has been highly modified over the past century and a half, transformed by urbanization, agricultural development, logging, invasive species and many other land and water use changes. Drawing on a wide range of archival maps, photographs, and documents, the SFEI researchers provided a window into the complex mosaic of wetlands, riparian habitats, and stream channels that occupied the central Laguna landscape during the mid-19th century.
The Sonoma County Water Agency is working to secure our future by investing in our water resources, community and environment. The Water Agency provides water supply, flood protection and sanitation services for portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. Visit us on the Web at www.sonomacountywater.org.