Valley-Wide Meeting Slated to Discuss Dry Creek Construction this Summer

     

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    2014-04-29

    April 29, 2014 - For Immediate Release

    CONTACT: Ann DuBay, 707.524.8378 (Office), 707.322.8185 (Cell), ann.dubay@scwa.ca.gov

    Healdsburg, CA— Major construction will be happening in the Lambert Bridge area of Dry Creek this summer on a project to enhance habitat for endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead and Chinook.

    An annual community meeting hosted by Supervisor Mike McGuire, the Dry Creek Valley Association, Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley, and the Sonoma County Water Agency (Water Agency) will be held on Monday, May 12, 6-8 pm at the Lake Sonoma Visitors Center to provide information on the planned construction. In addition, there will be information on plans for the second and third miles of habitat enhancement. All neighbors are encouraged to attend, provide feedback and ask questions.

    The Water Agency is working with 10 willing landowners  (Amista Vineyards, Dry Creek Vineyard, Doug Lipton & Cindy Daniel, Carole & Geno Mascherini, Quivira Vineyards and Winery, Rued Winery, Seghesio Family Vineyards, Peter & Marian Van Alyea, Ron Wolmer, Yellow Dog Vineyard) to construct about one mile of habitat enhancements near Lambert Bridge. Approximately one-half mile of the Dry Creek Demonstration Project is completed, including a segment built by the US Army Corps of Engineers immediately below Warm Springs Dam.

    “There will be significant activity in and around Dry Creek this summer and we invite all of the neighbors to join the conversation on May 12,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Mike McGuire. “Thanks to the incredible partnership with local landowners, this exciting project continues to advance creating thriving habitat for young fish.”

    Elements of the projects include bank stabilization to reduce erosion, anchored boulders to create small rapids, anchored log jams, and side channels to provide refuge for young fish and native plants to reduce erosion and create shade. The majority of the construction will be happening in the creek and won’t be visible to residents and visitors. The most obvious sign of the project will be trucks carrying logs, root wads and other material to the habitat enhancement sites.

    This project will contribute to the six miles required in National Marine Fisheries Service’ Russian River Biological Opinion. The Biological Opinion was issued in 2008, and requires the Water Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to improve habitat for juvenile coho and steelhead in Dry Creek as an alternative to reducing summertime flows in the creek. (The high velocity of water flowing in Dry Creek in the summer was found by NMFS’ biologists to be detrimental to the survival of young coho and steelhead.)

    “This project is creating a more environmentally friendly future for the next generation, while helping landowners today with erosion and other problems,” said Don Wallace, partner, Dry Creek Vineyard, which is one of the project sites.

    Since nearly all of the 14-mile Dry Creek is privately owned, the required six miles of habitat enhancement is dependent on partnerships with landowners. Access to the creek will be necessary for several years to maintain, repair and monitor the enhancements, which include side channels and backwaters, large wood features, riffles, and revegetation to control erosion and provide shade.

    “The habitat enhancement project benefits the community and the endangered fish species that thrive in Dry Creek,” said McGuire. “We are committed to protecting and enhancing the creek’s natural and agricultural value for the benefit of residents, farmers and generations to come.”

    A component of the meeting will serve as the scoping session for the beginning of the environmental process for Miles 2-6 of the habitat enhancement project. The environmental process will be outlined and a soon-to-be released Notice of Preparation (NOP) will be discussed. The NOP describes the proposed project that will be analyzed in the Environmental Impact Report and identifies the issue areas that will be studied during the environmental review.

    Dry Creek carries water from Lake Sonoma to the Russian River and is a critical component of the Water Agency’s water transmission system serving 600,000 people. To learn more about NMFS’ Biological Opinion and Dry Creek requirements go to www.scwa.ca.gov/drycreek/.

     

    Event Details

    • Date:  Monday, May 12
    • Time: 6-8 pm
    • Location: Lake Sonoma Visitors Center 3333 Skaggs Springs Road, Geyserville CA

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    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.

     

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