The Kenwood Press
News: 10/15/2019

A new vision for upper Sonoma Creek



Sonoma Ecology Center is working with partners to create a new vision for upper Sonoma Creek – including a restoration vision booklet and demonstration project – and to that end more than 70 Sonoma Creek landowners have joined them in community meetings to share their stories, their love for Sonoma Creek, and their concerns regarding its health.

The next step is to craft several restoration project recommendations to be discussed with landowners and agency stakeholders, with the goal of selecting one project that best demonstrates how Sonoma Creek steelhead habitat can be created while also improving flood resilience and reducing bank erosion.

Glen Ellen and Kenwood landowners met over the course of four community meetings hosted by Sonoma Ecology Center and restoration design and engineering firm Environmental Science Associates (ESA), partner in this project. On the subject of Sonoma Creek, people’s top concerns were clear: erosion, flooding, low summer water levels, and decline in steelhead populations.

SEC’s response is a multifaceted approach showing where and how restoration can help both people and habitat, with fieldwork along upper Sonoma Creek in July focusing on those parts of the creek with the best restoration opportunities and greatest landowner interest. Many landowners have provided access through their properties to the stream, and shared their interest in participating in stream restoration and stewardship projects.

Based on fieldwork and landowner input, “restoration recommendation sheets” will be distributed to landowners for review in October. After that, the partners will narrow the list of locations for conceptual designs, culminating in a demonstration restoration project. The designs and restoration vision booklet are scheduled to be completed in spring 2020.

The project was made possible by a grant from California Department of Fish and Wildlife, allowing SEC to conduct research, work with the public to guide the project, and commission ESA to develop a restoration vision for upper Sonoma Creek from Madrone Road to Adobe Canyon.

Sonoma Ecology Center continues to seek landowners who manage land along Sonoma Creek and are interested in working to improve stewardship of creek habitat and water resources. They are also looking for locations to conduct creek cleanups this fall. Those interested in improving creek stewardship or in participating in a creek cleanup, or who have suggestions for cleanup locations along Sonoma Creek, are encouraged to email creek@sonomaecologycenter.org.

For more information on this project, go to sonomaecologycenter.org/creeksurvey or email creek@sonomaecologycenter.org.