Forestville, CA – May 21, 2018 – The Sonoma County Water Agency (Water Agency) began
inflating its rubber dam on the Russian River near Forestville on Monday, May
21, 2018. The rubber dam is a critical component of the Russian River water supply
system that provides naturally filtered drinking water to more than 600,000
residents in portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. The rubber dam will remain
inflated through summer and into the fall.
The rubber dam is typically inflated in late spring when
demand for potable water increases. When fully inflated, the rubber dam creates
a small pool of water from which the Water Agency draws water for use in four
off-stream infiltration ponds. The infiltration ponds help recharge groundwater
which is then naturally filtered through sand and gravel and delivered to the
Water Agency’s customers.
Boaters must portage around the rubber dam, located
downstream of Wohler Bridge. Public notices will be posted around the rubber
dam warning the public not to recreate on or near the dam. California
Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations prohibit fishing within 250 feet of
the upstream and downstream sides of the rubber dam.
The Russian River Biological Opinion, issued in 2008 by
National Marine Fisheries Service, found that fish screens at the Water
Agency’s River Diversion Structure could harm small fish, including young
endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead. In order to comply with the
Biological Opinion and continue operating its system, the Water Agency in 2016
installed a new, improved fish screen. In conjunction with the installation of
the fish screen, the Water Agency also constructed an improved fish ladder and
viewing gallery. The new fish ladder will create better conditions for adult
and juvenile salmon moving up or downstream, and will allow for more native
species to use the ladder for migration.
For more information about the rubber dam and how the Water
Agency delivers naturally filtered Russian River water to its customers, please