The Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) in September 2016 approved a plan to alter the mouth of the Russian River specifically to “create a more productive environment for young steelhead.” The plan calls for SCWA to “adaptively manage a lagoon outlet channel” at the mouth of the river in Jenner to reduce tidal flows and raise the water level throughout the lower Russian River.
When implemented, this plan will inundate much of the riverfront beach areas in Patterson Point Preserve for five months, starting May 15 of each year. The Board of FoVG is advocating modifications to the plan, citing concerns of reduced recreational opportunities, degraded river water quality and negative impact on wildlife health.
In April, 2014, the FoVG Board published a Fact Sheet:
In August 2016, a Draft Environmental Impact Report was published by SCWA for public review:
On November 11, 2016, the FoVG Board sent a letter responding to the DEIR:
The FoVG Riverwatch Committee has prepared a sample letter concerned citizens may want to send to SCWA during the open comment period,
For background on the process and the parties involved, check these links:
Russian River Estuary Management - "Low Flow"
Managing water quality on the Russian River between Guerneville and the Pacific Ocean is a complex process involving multiple stakeholders. The two primary issues are controlling the flow of the river, with releases from reservoirs and managing the mouth at Jenner, and limiting discharges into the river with tighter regulation of wastewater systems. Friends of Villa Grande members are engaged in the decision process in both issues.
The Russian RIver watershed suffers "impairments" from multiple pollution sources, including homeowner septic systems. California is in the process of tightening regulations to improve water quality, which could impact existing as well as new systems. For an overview of the situation, go to:
A Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) has been interacting with the various agencies to represent the concerns of homeowners and river users. Their meetings are open to the public in Monte Rio, as shown on their webpage:
That same webpage also lists the Sonoma County Ombudsperson working with the Clean Water Initiative. You may contact her by phone or with a webmail form linked on the site.
River Pollution and Septic Systems