Sonoma County Water Agency E-News | February 2018
  • 2018 Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival
  • Public Meeting on Local Fish Habitat Restoration Projects
  • Annual Dry Creek Community Meeting on Habitat Enhancement Project
  • October Wildfire Response Video
  • Flood Protection Public Tours
  • Public Comment Period to Open for Local Hazard Mitigation Plan
  • Water Storage and Rainfall
  • Upcoming Events, Employment Opportunities, and Fact of the Month
2018 Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival
Join the Water Agency as we celebrate the return of steelhead trout to the hatchery at Lake Sonoma at the Annual Steelhead Festival , hosted by the Friends of Lake Sonoma. This free event has something for everybody: archery, steelhead fishing for those between the ages of 5 and 15, live music, a silent auction, food, wine poured by the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley, and beer by Bear Republic.

When: Saturday, February 10, 2018 – 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Where: Milt Brandt Visitors Center & Congressman Don Clausen Fish Hatchery, 3288 Skaggs Springs Road, Geyserville
Public Meeting on Local Fish Habitat Restoration Projects
On Thursday, Feb. 22 the Public Policy Facilitating Committee (PPFC) will hold its annual meeting to review projects that are helping to restore endangered and threatened fish to the Russian River watershed while maintaining the region’s primary water supply. This year’s meeting will include a walking tour of a habitat enhancement project on Dry Creek.

The meeting will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Lake Sonoma Visitors Center, 333 Skaggs Springs Road, Geyserville. Following a meeting at the visitors center, the tour of a habitat enhancement site will take place off-site. Sturdy shoes are strongly recommended for the tour. Please email if you are interested in the tour, to ensure adequate parking and supplies.

The Biological Opinion was released by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in September 2008. This 15-year plan requires the Sonoma County Water Agency (Water Agency) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to modify Russian River water supply and flood control operations to prevent harm to endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout. The PPFC – comprised of elected and appointed officials from public agencies throughout the region – meets annually to review implementation of the Russian River Biological opinion.

The Biological Opinion requirements include reducing minimum summertime flows in the Russian River and Dry Creek; changing the way the sandbar is managed at the estuary between May 15 and October 15; enhancing habitat in Dry Creek; and fish monitoring.

Presentations on Feb. 22 will include video footage from a new drone that is being used to streamline monitoring of the Dry Creek Habitat Enhancement Project. The public will have an opportunity to comment.

Meeting Details

  • DATE: Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018
  • TIME: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
  • LOCATION: Lake Sonoma Visitors Center, 3333 Skaggs Springs Rd., Geyserville

The meeting agenda is available here . For additional information, please contact Ann DuBay at or 707.524.8378.
Annual Dry Creek Community Meeting on Habitat Enhancement Project
Dry Creek residents and all those interested in the progress of the Dry Creek Habitat Enhancement Project are invited to attend the annual Dry Creek Community Meeting on Thursday, February 22, 6-8 p.m. at the Milt Brandt Visitors Center at Lake Sonoma. 

The annual gathering provides an update on the Dry Creek Habitat Enhancement Project, which is a joint effort by the Sonoma County Water Agency (Water Agency), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and many private property owners in the Dry Creek Valley. When completed, the project will enhance six miles of the creek to improve conditions for endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead in the Russian River watershed.

The meeting is hosted by Sonoma County Water Agency Director James Gore (also the Fourth District County Supervisor), the Water Agency, USACE, the Dry Creek Valley Association, and the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley. 

The annual meeting will include an update on the status of the project and a description of the construction schedule for 2018. This will be followed by a question-and-answer session with representatives of the Water Agency, National Marine Fisheries Service, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, and the USACE.

The Dry Creek Habitat Enhancement Project is creating habitat features to improve conditions for endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead. Those features are designed to slow the cold, but fast-moving, water that flows out of Lake Sonoma. While salmon and steelhead prefer cold water, young fish don’t thrive when the water moves too quickly. Last summer, approximately .4 of a mile of features were constructed, and several features underwent repairs following the high flows in the winter of 2016-17. Habitat enhancement features are designed in consultation with property owners to minimize the effect on existing vineyard operations.  

Dry Creek carries water from Lake Sonoma to the Russian River and is a critical component of the Water Agency’s water transmission system that serves more than 600,000 residents in Sonoma and portions of Marin counties.
October Wildfire Response Video
We are pleased to release the video below, which features actions taken by the Water Agency in response to the October 2017 wildfires. A special thank you to James Macdonald, Hank Wiedmann, Mike Thompson and Director Shirlee Zane for telling their stories in the video, and to Tessa Foster for helping produce the video. We hope this video helps describe the brave and important actions taken during that time. Thank you for all that you do! 
Flood Protection Public Tours
Register today for a free half day tour of regional flood control facilities located throughout Sonoma County including well known facilities like Spring Lake, and lesser known facilities like Matanzas Creek Reservoir. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the operations and many benefits of flood control efforts, and learn about the history of flood control in Sonoma County. Seats are reserved on a first-come-first-serve basis.  

Flood protection tours are scheduled for the following dates from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm:

Registration is required and space is limited. Children must be 12 years old and accompanied by an adult. 

To view available tour times, and to register for a public tour, please click "More information."
Public Comment Period to Open for Local Hazard Mitigation Plan
Members of the public are invited to submit comments on the Sonoma County Water Agency’s (Water Agency) updated Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) that creates a blueprint for reducing the damage to infrastructure from natural disasters, such as floods, droughts, fires, and earthquakes.

The 30-day public comment period is expected to open on March 1, 2018. To review the LHMP and provide input, click here. Please visit this site for any updates on the public review process.

An LHMP forms the foundation for a community's long-term strategy to reduce disaster losses and break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. The planning process includes public and stakeholder involvement. The Sonoma County Water Agency is working with its stakeholders to complete an update of the 2013 LHMP.

The Water Agency must update its LHMP every five years to ensure it remains relevant to current events and system conditions and to meet requirements set forth by FEMA. In particular, staff will review the Water Agency’s vulnerabilities and risks, as well as the prioritized listing of hazard mitigation projects.

SCWA has installed 14 isolation valves throughout its water transmission system to increase the Water Agency’s operational ability to restore a reliable water supply and minimize risk to life and property following an earthquake.
LHMP’s are public documents that create a framework for risk-based decision making to reduce damage to lives, property, and the economy from future disasters, such as earthquakes, fires, and floods. Hazard mitigation is sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and their property from hazards. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) utilizes LHMPs to issue grant funding for pre-disaster and hazard mitigation projects.

In 2004 the Sonoma County Water Agency initiated a natural hazard assessment, which was instrumental in creating the Water Agency’s first LHMP in 2008. This LHMP was updated in 2013, and includes a priority listing of hazard mitigation projects.

If you are interested in following the LHMP preparation, approval, and adoption process or providing input, click here. All LHMP drafts for public review, staff reports, public hearing notices, hazard maps, etc., will be posted for public review on this page.

You can submit questions or comments by sending an email to
Water Storage and Rainfall
Current water supply conditions

Lake Mendocino
Target Storage Curve: 68,400 acre-feet
Current Storage: 64,186 acre-feet ( 93.84% of Target)

Lake Sonoma
Target Storage Curve: 245,000 acre-feet
Current Storage: 206,941 acre-feet ( 84.47% of Target)
Current rainfall conditions
(10/1/17 - 2/5/18)

Average (1894-2017 water years): 22.71”
Current Water Year: 11.66” (51.34% of average)
Santa Rosa
Average (1950-2017 water years): 18.79"
Current Water Year: 13.26” (70.57% of average)
Upcoming Events
  • February 10, 2018, 10:00 am

  • February 13, 2018, 8:30 am
  • February 27, 2018, 8:30 am
  • March 13, 2018, 8:30 am

North Bay Watershed Association Board Meeting
  • March 2, 2018, 9:30 am
Employment Opportunities
We invite you to explore the career opportunities available with the Sonoma County Water Agency.

Current opportunities:
  • Water Agency Administrative Assistant - Promotional
  • Water Agency Maintenance Worker I - Extra-Help
  • Water Agency Maintenance Worker II - Extra-Help
  • Water Agency Resource Programs Technician I - Extra-Help
Fact of the Month

Water Agency fisheries biologists encounter several species of fish in the Russian River - not only salmon! One of them is the Pacific Lamprey. Like salmon, these fish spawn in the Russian River and migrate to the Pacific Ocean to grow as adults.
This E-News is produced by the Water Agency's Community & Government Affairs Department. We want to hear from you!  Contact us with your questions. 
Sonoma County Water Agency