Santa Rosa, CA – June 17, 2021 – The Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) will begin the replacement of its inflatable rubber dam located in the Russian River near Forestville next week, and boating access through the construction zone will be closed through the summer. 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.
Sonoma Water is warning boaters that the normal portage around the rubber dam will be closed starting Monday, June 21 for the remainder of the construction project, which is scheduled for completion on October 15, 2021. Signs alerting boaters to the changed conditions will be posted at Wohler Bridge. A large sign mounted on the bridge will be visible from the river, and an additional buoy line and floating sign beneath the bridge will instruct boaters that the portage is closed, and they must exit the river at that point.
The next public access to the river downstream of the rubber dam is at the Steelhead Beach Regional Park, 9000 River Rd, Forestville.
The rubber dam is typically inflated in spring or early summer when demand for potable water increases. When fully inflated, the rubber dam creates a small pool of water from which Sonoma Water draws water for use in four off-stream infiltration ponds. The infiltration ponds help recharge groundwater, which is naturally filtered through sand and gravel and delivered to Sonoma Water’s customers.
The rubber dam, located just downstream of the Wohler Bridge on the Russian River, was last replaced in 1995. When the rubber dam is raised, a permanent fish ladder provides fish passage and allow Sonoma Water to count the migration of adult salmon and steelhead with its underwater video system located in the fish ladder.
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.
Sonoma Water provides water supply, flood protection and sanitation services for portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. Visit us on the Web at www.sonomawater.org