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Natural Resources

For Immediate Release

Russian River Inflatable Dam Lowered in Advance of Forecasted Storm

Santa Rosa, CA | December 07, 2022

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In anticipation of a major storm arriving this weekend and elevated river flows, the Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) on Wednesday, December 7 will begin the process of deflating its rubber dam located in the Russian River near Forestville. Sonoma Water routinely deflates the rubber dam when Russian River flow forecasts show the river exceeding 1,600 cubic feet per second (cfs) in order to prevent damage to the rubber dam from high flows. The rain forecasted for the weekend is expected to raise river flows above 2,900 cfs.

The rubber dam is located just downstream of the Wohler Bridge on the Russian River and is normally raised in the spring or early summer when water demands increase. The rubber dam creates a pool of water that enhances Sonoma Water’s well levels in the area. A permanent fish ladder provides fish passage when the rubber dam is raised and also allows Sonoma Water to count migrating adult salmon and steelhead with its underwater video system located in the fish ladder. When completely deflated, the rubber dam rests flat on the bottom of the Russian River.  

Even with the recent series of storms, the region is well behind normal rainfall totals and reservoirs remain at historically low levels: The drought is not over. Sonoma Water encourages people to continue to use water efficiently.  Now is the time to adjust or turn off irrigation systems. Water conservation tips are available at the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Saving Partnership website,

Sonoma Water provides water supply, flood protection and sanitation services for portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. Visit us on the Web at

Media Contact:

Andrea Rodriguez, Communications Manager, Sonoma Water