Cresta is the site of a planned Sonoma County Regional Park and Preserve, and also where restoration work was begun last February. The restoration work included the planting of 200 native trees and shrubs to expand the secondary riparian corridor. Participants learned all about the importance of the riparian corridor and what it means for the health of the fish and other species who inhabit the area.
Next, there was a larger gathering up at the new Dwight Center at Pepperwood Preserve. To start the program, Bill Keene of SCAPOSD and Caryl Hart from Sonoma County Regional Parks spoke about the Cresta property and its plans for the future as a Regional Park and Preserve.
Then, Derek Acomb, from Fish and Game talked about his work to find grant money that can fund projects to support the viability of Coho in the Mark West Watershed. He’s looking for places where culverts can be redesigned to aid the passage of fish to upstream habitat, and places where woody debris can be placed in the creek to create pools for sheltering fish during the dry season.
Nick Bauer, from the UC Cooperative Extension, talked about their monitoring program and how they help track the success of the hatchery releases on creeks such as ours. His team was the group that spotted wild Coho in the Mark West Creek this fall. They hope to access more areas along the creek in the future to monitor any other potential returns.
Finally, we heard from Pat Rutten, of the NOAA Restoration Center, who touched on one “hot,” but essential topic: streamflow. While all the efforts to restore habitat and to keep the species alive through captive breeding are important, and even critical, to the survival of the Coho, all will be for naught if we can’t find a way to address streamflow during the dry season when Coho need cool pools in the creeks to survive. Pat talked about the success of water conservation programs in other watersheds and encouraged us to seek out ways to store more water during the rainy season so it will be available during the end of the hot, dry summers.
In the end, this day of celebration allowed us to learn how important our watershed is to the survival of the Coho salmon. A tremendous amount of energy, from a multitude of agencies and individuals, is being directed here because of our unique upstream habitat. We have the chance to possibly help bring this species back from the brink of extinction. Here’s what you can do to help:
• Consider allowing agency access to your property, especially if yours is along Mark West Creek or a major tributary. Representatives from all the agencies who attended the Coho Celebration want to continue to monitor for water quality, stream habitat, and the presence of fish (hatchery or wild). We encourage you to do what you feel comfortable with to help all the agencies involved in the attempt to save this endangered species.
• Learn more about upland water storage. Even if you don’t live on the creek, the more water you can help to keep in our watershed, the better for the creek during the dry season. Much more still needs to be understood about how hydrology works in this particular area. Plans are underway to create a community-wide forum on hydrology and streamflow so we can get some more data on water issues specific to our watershed.
• Join the email list for the Alpine Club and/or the Friends of the Mark West Watershed so you can stay up-to-date on any community events or stewardship projects designed to help improve habitat for fish. Contact Harriet (hbuck at sonic.net) to join either list.
• Keep your eyes peeled for fish in the creek. Learn how to tell the difference between Coho and Steelhead. If you think you see Coho in our creek, contact Harriet (hbuck at sonic.net), and she’ll help you get in touch with the UC Extension group that is monitoring our creek.
Great Coho News in the Mark West Watershed!
Sotoyome RCD is very excited to spread the news that this month, while conducting a snorkel survey, the UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) found 27 wild, juvenile coho salmon in Mark West Creek. This finding is very encouraging because coho have not been documented in the Mark West Watershed since 2001.
Now, more than ever, this watershed is a focus for conservation and habitat improvement. The RCD and a diverse group of organizations are working together to leverage resources and obtain funding to bolster an already strong foundation of community involvement and stewardship.
photo by Greg Damron
The RCD has been involved in the Mark West Watershed for over 50 years and especially active the last 15 years. During this time, the RCD has specifically focused on:
- Collecting temperature and water quality data to follow long term trends in habitat conditions throughout the watershed.
- Reducing sediment delivery into creeks by upgrading over 12 miles of rural roads and assessing approximately 24 miles.
- Partnering to form the Russian River Coho Water Resources Partnership, a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Coho Keystone Initiative that is working to reduce water demand and improve water supply.
- Most recently, Sotoyome RCD secured a Department of Fish and Game Grant to complete an Upper Mark West and Maacama Integrated Watershed Management Plan.
Sotoyome RCD is rightfully proud of all the work they've accomplished in this watershed. They deeply appreciate the support of landowners and other partners as they work together to further the momentum of all these efforts!
Cresta Riparian Habitat Enhancement
and Education Project
Phone Alert System from the Emergency Preparedness Committee
A joint program of the Alpine Club and the FMWW, the Phone Alert System calls your phone(s) when there is a local emergency that could impact you or your property. For more information, go to our new Emergency Preparedness page.
· Arthur Dawson – Proposals for Historical Ecological Projects
Directions to Monan's Rill ~ 7899 St. Helena Road, Santa Rosa CA 95404. Approx. 4 miles on St. Helena Road from Calistoga Road. At the bottom of a sharp S turn, there are several mailboxes on the left at the base of the main drive onto the land. You will also see a sign for Monan's Rill at the entry on the left side of the road. Go up the gravel drive. Please keep your speed below 15 mph. Monan's Rill community HUB is about a mile up the drive. Once you get onto the property, keep going straight, curving around to the left until you get to a "Y". Take the right fork and make the next left at the mailboxes. The community building is on the left and parking is on the roadway or in the parking lot area on the right of the building. Please leave your pets at home ~ stay clear of the ponds ~ no smoking. Please Note: All attendees at our quarterly meetings are asked to sign a general liability release for the benefit of Monan’s Rill.
Our On-Going Strategic Planning
FMWW Mission:We are a community dedicated to preserving, protecting, and restoring the Mark West Creek and its watershed as a natural and community resource.
Saddle Mountain Management Plan: The Ag and Open Space District has contracted for the preparation of a management plan for the Saddle Mountain property. This is the latest update on their progress. (Acrobat file; 20KB size)
Upper Mark West Watershed Management Plan: Phase One: The Sotoyome Resource Conservation District has begun a management plan for the Upper Mark West Watershed. Phase One summarizes existing information about the natural history of our watershed and identifies what further work we need to complete a plan for its (hopefully enlightened) management. (Acrobat file; 604KB size)
Franz Valley Specific Plan; 1979: Sonoma County prepared and adopted this land use plan and environmental impact report in 1979. It has since been incorporated by reference into the County’s General Plan. It contains information about the environmental sensitivities and constraints and opportunities of our watershed and the importance of the watershed to the environmental future of the County. It also has a nice ethnographic history. (Acrobat file; 13MB size)
Friends of the Mark West Watershed • 6985 Saint Helena Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404 Email • Tel: 707-538-5307 • Fax: 707-595-5322
The views expressed on this website reflect those of the submitting writer(s).
They do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Friends of the Mark West Watershed or its members.
The FMWW does not warrant or assume legal liability or responsibility for
the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information disclosed.
FMWW encourages any and all community members and interested persons to attend
our monthly meetings to discuss these watershed issues.