Sonoma County Water Agency E-News | June 2018
Board Approves Sewer Extension and Financing Program for Larkfield Estates

On June 5 th , the Water Agency Board of Directors approved a plan to extend sewer service in the neighborhood of Larkfield Estates that was destroyed during last year’s fires. Water Agency staff will work to initiate the design and construction of a sewer collection system in the neighborhood of Larkfield Estates, which includes an area primarily southeast of Old Redwood Highway and Mark West Springs Road, and will develop a financing program to lessen the financial burden of connecting to sewer service. The neighborhood is within the boundary of the Airport Larkfield Wikiup Sanitation Zone and most homes in this area are currently connected to septic systems.
“In response to the need to be bold in our approach to fire recovery, the Water Agency has come up with a creative way to provide sewer service to those who want to connect,” said James Gore, Water Agency Director and Sonoma County Supervisor whose district includes the Larkfield Estates neighborhood. “This program is aiming to take advantage of the rebuilding process to improve community infrastructure and give neighbors real choices about how they want to rebuild their homes. True resilience is about not just rebuilding what we had, but making our communities stronger.”

Participation in this program is completely voluntary, and sewer construction and connection costs will only be assessed to property owners who choose to connect to the sewer. To ease the financial burden on property owners of constructing the system, eligible property owners will be offered a financing package that includes a 20-year low-interest loan for the sewer connection fee, and a 30-year, low-interest loan for construction costs that includes a 10-year, interest- and principal-free grace period.

More information about the sewer financing program, and about how to opt-in to this program will be shared with the public as it becomes available.
Don’t Move a Mussel!

On Saturday, June 2, a boat approached Lake Mendocino. Before it was allowed onto the water, Noah the mussel-sniffing dog checked the boat for tiny zebra or quagga mussels – invasive species smaller than a penny, which have been known to proliferate so quickly and easily that they can take over lakes and reservoirs, causing significant damage. Mussel-sniffing dogs have been checking boats in the region on busy days for five years, but this was the first time they found any mussels. It was lucky that they did find them, though not so lucky that they were there; the Mussel Dogs only work three days a week for five months of the year, and the boat could have slipped through without inspection if Noah and the other dogs hadn’t been on duty at that time. 
Noah the mussel-sniffing dog (photo courtesy of Mussel Dogs)
Lake Mendocino is an important water source for the Water Agency and our customers and a significant part of the Russian River ecosystem. If mussels found their way into the reservoir, there would be significant impacts not only within the lake, but downstream. “If introduced into Lake Mendocino,” said Brad Sherwood, Water Agency Government Affairs Manager, “the mussels could attach themselves to any and all infrastructure in the lake, so that means dam infrastructure, hydro infrastructure, fishery hatchery infrastructure, recreational boats. The shoreline would become unusable because these things just multiply by the millions per year. Further, they would essentially ruin the ecosystem for fish and, yes, they can survive in river systems so they could potentially spread into the Russian River watershed.”
Sonoma Marin Saving Water Partnership
Summer Ad Campaign
The Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership (Partnership) has implemented a regional multi-media effort throughout the North Bay region with a simple message: There’s never enough to waste. The Partnership includes the Sonoma County Water Agency and nine water utilities including the cities of Cotati, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Windsor, and the North Marin, Valley of the Moon, and Marin Municipal Water Districts.
“The Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership’s goal is to increase awareness of individual water use and provide rebates and tips to lower water-use,” said Windsor Town Councilmember Mark Millan, Chairman of the Water Advisory Committee. “We hope this campaign will create awareness about so many great rebate programs being offered to help residents save water. We never know when the next drought will be upon us.”

The advertising campaign focuses on outdoor water conservation messages that will appear in regional publications, radio stations and online media. The new advertisements support the Partnership’s ongoing year-round water conservation program that has featured local residents and businesses doing their part to save water by participating in water-efficiency rebate programs. 
Sonoma County Water Agency Director James Gore added, “The amount of resources available online for residents looking to redo their landscape is really incredible. One of the most beneficial tools, are the landscape templates. These free plans were originally developed for those rebuilding after the fires, but is a great tool for anyone who needs a little extra guidance when planning their landscape.”
Water Awareness Poster and Video Contests

The Sonoma County Water Agency (Water Agency), in partnership with local water suppliers, has held an annual Water Awareness Poster Contest since 1994. Winners of the poster contest are featured in the following year’s Water Awareness calendar. The contest allows students to creatively express the importance of water as a natural resource. This year 184 finalists were selected from thousands of entries from 52 schools in the Water Agency’s service area. The 13 winning entries will appear in the 2019 Water Awareness Calendar. The 14 poster winners (one entry had two artists) received a t-shirt with their winning poster art printed on the front and teachers were given a $50 gift certificate for school supplies. The poster contest is sponsored by the Sonoma Marin Water Saving Partnership, the Water Agency, and Sonoma Clean Power.

The Russian River Watershed Association’s High School Video Contest received 37 video entries from nine schools, with a total of 62 students participating. The top three winning videos will be used as public service announcements and as educational outreach materials. The first place entry will be aired during preview ads in local movie theaters. In addition, winners received cash prizes of $1,500 (first place), $1,000 (second place), and $500 (third place). The prizes were split evenly between the student winners and their schools. This year’s video contest had the theme “From the Street to the Creek, Be Part of the Pollution Solution!”

“The annual poster and video contests are a great way for students to learn about the value of water and the importance of protecting our creeks and streams from pollution,” said James Gore, chair of the Water Agency Board of Directors. “I love seeing the creativity of these students and their commitment to our watershed and the environment.”

The winners of the poster contest included:
Paul Llagas, 3 rd grade
Teacher Karen Bandiera
J.X. Wilson School, Santa Rosa

Mae Alstott, 3 rd grade
Teacher Debra Bacher               
Sassarini Elementary, Sonoma

Ellie Llanos, 3 rd grade
Teacher Debra Bacher
Sassarini Elementary, Sonoma

Ava Ramirez, 3 rd grade
Teacher Patricia Hoskins          
Loma Vista Immersion Academy, Petaluma

Joel Hernandez, 3 rd grade
Craig Stone         
Waldo Rohnert Elementary,
Rohnert Park

Lisa Zheng, 4 th grade
Teacher Laura Knapp
Austin Creek Elementary, Santa Rosa

Bryan Timbol, 4 th grade
Teacher Julie McMurtrie
Taylor Mt. Elementary, Santa Rosa
Divier Mazariegos, 5 th grade
Teacher Fran Rozoff
Olive Elementary, Novato

Hanne Thomsen, 5 th grade
Teacher Nora Peterson
Strawberry Elementary, Santa Rosa

Quinn Gaidmore, 5 th grade
Teacher Amy Turko
McNear Elementary, Petaluma

Eder Calderon Tapia, 5 th grade
Teacher Amy Turko
McNear Elementary, Petaluma

Marc Santos, 6 th grade
Teacher Kevin Imm
St. Eugene's Cathedral, Santa Rosa

Maggie Bromham, 6 th grade
Teacher Michelle Holmstedt
Santa Rosa Charter School For the Arts, Santa Rosa

Christin Ingle, 6 th grade      
Teacher Michelle Holmstedt
Santa Rosa Charter School For the Arts, Santa Rosa
The winners of the video contest included:

1 st Place   “Rosie Knows,” by Henry Gomez; Healdsburg High School, Instructor: John Chevalier
2 nd Place “ A Simple Solution,” by Ashlie Edmonds; Healdsburg High School, Instructor: John Chevalier
3 rd Place  “ Know the Little Things,” by Jordan Fetcko, Alexander Rivero, and Nicholas Bounkhoun; Montgomery High School, Instructor: Steve Forrest
Mike Hauser Algebra Academy 2018
In June, the Water Agency hosted 34 high school students for this year's Mike Hauser Academy, a three-week summer program for students who are entering the 9th grade. Through this program the Sonoma County Water Agency hosts two groups of high school students, who learn about STEM careers and how algebra and math are applied in the real world. The program is offered in collaboration with the City of Santa Rosa serving students from communities that are underrepresented in STEM careers and who are selected through a competitive application process. 
Water Storage and Rainfall
Current water supply conditions (6/11/18)

Lake Mendocino
Target Storage Curve: 87,807 acre-feet
Current Storage: 83,514 acre-feet (95.11% of Target)

Lake Sonoma
Target Storage Curve: 245,000 acre-feet
Current Storage: 223,571 acre-feet (91.25% of Water Supply Pool)
Current rainfall conditions (10/1/17 - 5/6/18)

Average (1894-2017 water years): 36.45”
Current Water Year: 23.49” which is 64.44% of average

Santa Rosa:
Average (1950-2017 water years): 30.11"
Current Water Year: 25.12” which is 83.43% of average
Upcoming Events
  • July 10, 2018, 8:30 am
  • July 24, 2018, 8:30 am
  • July 31, 2018, 8:30 am - Special closed session

NBWA Board Meetings
  • July 13, 2018, 9:30 am
Fact of the Month
The Water Agency produces water from the Russian River that is pumped from wells about 100 feet below the river bed. This system of pumping is called river bank filtration. Six groundwater wells, also known as collectors, pump the water through natural sands and gravels that act as a filtering system. The system produces high quality drinking water that does not face the water quality concerns that affect many public water systems throughout the United States.
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