Input sought on restoration for steelhead habitat in upper Sonoma Creek
Over the past century, there has been a huge loss of steelhead and salmon in Sonoma Creek. These anadromous fish species, migrating from salt water to spawn in fresh water, are an important indicator of watershed health, which is why it’s a concern when they disappear from a waterway. Sonoma Ecology Center (SEC) is seeking landowners who live near or manage land along Sonoma Creek and are interested in working with them to improve stewardship of creek habitat and water resources.
With funding from California Department of Fish and Wildlife, SEC will work with Environmental Science Associates, a restoration design firm with local ties, to develop a restoration vision for upper Sonoma Creek, specifically the length of creek from Madrone Road to Adobe Canyon. The focus is on restoring steelhead and salmon fish populations in Sonoma Creek, but this is not a simple or short-term goal. It will take the involvement of many landowners in a long-term effort to restore the creek hydrology to flows that are both friendly to homes and agriculture and support fish habitat. Some of the goals include improving both winter and summer creek flows, improving bank erosion and natural channel conditions, improving the quality of water in the creek, and removing invasive plants.
Over the next four months SEC will be trying to reach landowners along Sonoma Creek to identify and prioritize locations for restoration opportunities that would provide the most benefit to fish habitat and watershed health. Implementation will need additional public funding, which will be a two- to five-year process before any on-the-ground work begins. In addition to this long-term process, SEC hopes to engage with interested landowners in near-term or ongoing stewardship actions.
If you are a landowner interested in restoration of Sonoma Creek habitat, or know landowners who are, you can fill out a short survey at sonomaecologycenter.org/creeksurvey. You can also email suggestions or concerns regarding Sonoma Creek stewardship to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information go to www.sonomaecologycenter.org.