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Russian River Weekly Update 2/5/24

East Fork Russian River, February 3rd, 2024 by E Salomone
East Fork Russian River, February 3rd, 2024 by E Salomone 

Reservoir Storage & Operations:

Water supply information provided by Sonoma Water (find more water storage info here).

Table with storage data for Lakes Mendocino, Pillsbury, and Sonoma, including current levels, targets, and changes.
Graph showing Lake Mendocino storage levels, comparing different years and current storage against water supply and flood control targets.
Graph showing Lake Pillsbury storage levels for various years, with a current level above the target curve.
Graph showing Lake Sonoma storage levels from 2014-2023, comparing different years' water storage data.

Abacela Weather-Climate Summary and Forecast for February 2024


Governor Releases Strategy to Recover Salmon Populations Affected by Climate Change, Calls for Habitat Restoration

2024 CA Salmon Strategy for Hotter, Drier Future report

Gov. Gavin Newsom today released a strategy to restore salmon populations in the face of hotter and drier weather exacerbated by climate change, the first such strategy to protect salmon on a generational scale in the state.

The “California Salmon Strategy for a Hotter, Drier Future: Restoring Aquatic Ecosystems in the Age of Climate Change” document outlines six priorities and 71 specific actions to build healthier, thriving salmon populations. The six priorities are:

  • Remove barriers and modernize infrastructure for salmon migration;
  • Restore and expand habitat for salmon spawning and rearing;
  • Protect water flows and water quality in key rivers at the right times to support salmon;
  • Modernize salmon hatcheries;
  • Transform technology and management systems for climate adaptability; and
  • Strengthen partnerships.

These priorities lay out specific actions with deadlines, as well as partnerships between responsible agencies on the local, state, federal and Tribal Nation level, to build healthier salmon populations in California. For example, the strategy calls for adopting by 2025 an updated Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan, which could include the Agreements to Support Healthy Rivers and Landscapes (formerly referred to as Voluntary Agreements), to protect beneficial uses including the protection of salmon, steelhead, and other native aquatic species.

Other actions include modifying or reoperating existing water infrastructure to provide seasonal inundation of at least 10,000 acres of floodplain habitat; creating an additional 5,000 acres of floodplain habitat and reconnecting salmon to floodplains across the Central Valley; and completing supply-demand assessment pilot projects in three watersheds to better manage water allocations and provide data for local water management decisions.

The CA Natural Resources Agency is holding a webinar on February 6, 2024 12 PM to discuss this Newsom Administration strategy, important work underway to recover salmon, and where to concentrate efforts to bring back salmon across the state.

Articles on the topic:

ABC News: California Gov. Gavin Newsom backs dam removal projects aimed at sustaining salmon populations, 1/30/24

CalMatters: Saving salmon: Newsom unveils blueprint for ending decades-long decline , 1/31/24

High Country News: Gov. Newsom releases new plan to save California salmon, 1/31/24

Del Norte Triplicate: Governor Newsom tours North Coast salmon recovery projects, announces new initiative, 1/30/24

Press Democrat: $20.6 million in federal disaster aid announced for salmon industry, 2/1/24


Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival Returns February 10

Get ready for the return of the Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival as it celebrates its 15th year! California's premier event honoring the annual Steelhead migration is set to take place on Saturday, February 10, at the Milt Brandt Visitor Center grounds at Lake Sonoma, running from 10 am to 4 pm. Rain or shine, this event is free for all attendees. The festivities kick off at 10 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m. Shuttle services are provided to and from overflow parking lots. Event details can be found online at

Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival poster


Supply and Demand Assessment (SDA) by the SWRCB in the Russian River

The SDA Unit has continued to work on the models and tools developed for the Russian River Watershed during the State Water Board's 2021-2022 Regional Drought Response. These tools provided the necessary information for the Division of Water Rights (Division) to assess water availability and issue water right curtailments to ensure adequate, minimal water supplies for critical purposes under the emergency regulation. Visit the Water Rights Demand Data Analysis Methodology webpage to learn more and try out the tool. The Division used a water allocation tool adopted from the UC Davis Drought Water Rights Allocation Tool (DWRAT) to allocate available supply amongst water right holders based on their respective water right priority and water demands.


Announcing Climate Change Indicators Webinar Line-up and Tribal Video Release

Last week, the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) convened the Indicators of Climate Change in California Symposium: Bridging Science and Action as part of its efforts to track and report on climate change and its impacts on California.

Watch online: California Tribes and Climate Change: Voices from the Frontlines. This short film, which premiered at the symposium, was produced by OEHHA in partnership with two Lake County Tribes, the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians and the Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California.

Participate in the Indicators of Climate Change in California: Bridging Science and Action Webinar Series. Launched at the symposium, this webinar series will focus on updating the science and data on climate change topics and illustrating how these inform climate action in California. OEHHA is hosting the webinars in partnership with one or more state agencies with responsibilities relating to the topic. The first webinar is March 20, from 2:00 to 3:30 pm.


North Coast Resource Partnership Request for Proposals: Technical Assistance for Project Development

The North Coast Resource Partnership (NCRP) is pleased to offer a Request for Proposals for Technical Assistance to Tribes and economically disadvantaged communities to support project development for the NCRP CAL FIRE Forest Health Pilot Grant Program. EXTENDED DUE DATE: Proposals will be accepted & awarded on a rolling basis through MAY 1, 2024


20th Annual CA Water Law Symposium – 1913 to Now: Diversifying Solutions to Water Governance in CA

February 24, 2024 at the University of San Francisco School of Law. Topics this year include Water Rights Enforcement, SGMA, Klamath Dam Removal, Racial Equity, and more. For more information visit:


Water 101 Workshop: The Basics & Beyond by the CA Water Education Foundation, April 5, 2024

The annual Water 101 Workshop details the history, geography, legal and political facets of water in California as well as hot topics currently facing the state. Taught by some of the leading policy and legal experts in California, the one-day workshop on April 5 gives attendees a deeper understanding of the state’s most precious natural resource. The workshop, hosted at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, will be beneficial to water district directors, water resource industry staff, engineering and environmental firm personnel, city council members, county supervisors, legislators, legislative staff, press, advocates, attorneys, environmentalists, public interest organizations and others.

More information and registration can be found on the website.


The Latest in the California Beaver Chronicles

Sierra Club: How to Baffle a Beaver - A simple trick turns destructive urban pests into valuable ecosystem engineers, 1/30/24

A beaver building a dam by Jeff Hochstrasser/iStock
A beaver building a dam by Jeff Hochstrasser/iStock


In the press:


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