Salmonid Restoration Federation
Fisheries Restoration: Planning for Resilience
11 March - 14, 2015
Santa Rosa, California

Improving Summer Streamflows in Coho Streams Using Rainwater and Off-channel Water Storage Projects

March 12, 2015

Workshop Coordinator: 
John Green, Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

Tour Overview

In coastal California’s Mediterranean climate, demand for water tends to be highest when water is most scarce, and water extraction from rivers and streams can lead to diminished streamflow and degraded water quality, imperiling juvenile salmonids. Under the exceptional drought conditions of the past two years, these impacts have become even more severe.  In western Sonoma County, the Russian River Coho Partnership, Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District, Occidental Arts and Ecology Center WATER Institute, Prunuske Chatham, Inc., and our partners have employed several methods for reducing the impacts of water diversion on streamflows, including developing alternative water sources, constructing water storage, and changing the timing of water diversion to enhance summer flows. This was a full-day combined workshop and tour.  In the morning, we discussed the background of flow improvement efforts in western Sonoma County, including the history of this multi-stakeholder effort, scientific foundation for these programs, potential legal issues in developing off-channel and rainwater catchment projects, and program effectiveness monitoring.  During the afternoon tour, we visited several project sites and discuss advantages and disadvantages of various methods, along with obstacles to be overcome in implementing these projects.

Designing and Implementing Rainwater Catchment and Off-channel Water Storage Projects
John Green, Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

Hydrologic Foundations for Restorting Streamflow in Coastal California Watersheds
Matthew Deitch, Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration

Taking Some of the Low Out of Flow: Coastal Instream Flow Projects and Water Rights
MaryAnn King, Trout Unlimited

Conservation Hydrology Pondering, Planning, and Implementation
Brock Dolman, OAEC Water Institute