Sonoma RCD

Written By: Sonoma RCD
Published: January 3, 2019

Rainwater catchment projects gear up in key watersheds
By Christine Kuehn, Education & Communications Manager, Sonoma RCD

The Sonoma RCD recently installed its largest single rainwater catchment system to date, coming in at 60,000 gallons located in the Mark West Creek watershed. This system will support a large community garden to reduce the amount of water withdrawn from an existing groundwater well near an unnamed tributary. The project will improve summer streamflow in the watershed to benefit endangered coho salmon in critical dry, summer months.

We also installed multiple tanks earlier this month on the Sonoma Coast, which officially marks the start of our Coastal Rainwater Program in the Gualala River, Russian Gulch, and Austin Creek watersheds. This project will directly enhance stream flows by working with private landowners to build 28 more systems over the next two years.

With fire preparedness on the minds of many and all of these watersheds also being highly susceptible to wildfires, rainwater catchment tanks will provide firefighters with water for emergency use in these communities. Stay tuned for more details! If you are interested in receiving technical assistance for a rainwater catchment system please contact Jessica Pollitz, Engineer at

Reoaking effort: Sonoma and Petaluma watersheds
By Keith Abeles, Soil and Water Specialist, Sonoma RCD

Are you interested or willing to plant native oak trees at your place, or know someone
that might be? We are working to identify places in the Petaluma River or Sonoma Creek watersheds where we can plant oak woodland plants this winter and beyond. Funding is available to plant sites that can accommodate 50 or more trees. We are also looking for smaller sites. Please contact us soon. Of greatest interest are places that lost oaks in the fires, or see historical oak woodland habitat diminishing. Also, the acorn crop is very light this year. If you can provide a site to collect acorns in the Petaluma or Sonoma watersheds, let us know.

Please email Keith Abeles at or call (707) 569-1448 ext 112 to let us know about potential sites (of any size) or discuss the program further.

Funding for Rural Road Improvements and Erosion Control
By Anya Starovoytov, Project Manager, Sonoma RCD
Do your unpaved roads have rills or wash-outs? Do you have an erosion spot that’s been increasing in size? Do you have bare banks along your waterways?
Grant funding is available to help winegrowers in Sonoma Creek watershed who may need assistance with implementing erosion control and rural road projects, particularly for complying with the Vineyard General WDRs permit. Grant funds can cover 85% of the cost and are available for projects such as:
• Renovating rural roads – road reshaping, installing rolling dips or ditch relief culvert, decommissioning creek crossings
• Erosion control – grade control structures, grassed waterways, headcut repair
• Riparian restoration – invasive removal and native replanting along creek channels
Contact us today if you’d like to learn more and to get on the list for the 2019 construction season: Anya Starovoytov at or (707) 569-1448 ext. 109

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