Dry Creek, Sonoma County, CA

 

Dry Creek is a tributary to the Russian River in Sonoma County in Northern California’s wine country.  The relatively short (12 miles) trib runs from Warm Springs Dam to the Russian just west of downtown Healdsburg.  The deeply incised channel runs through spectacular vineyards and, in the past, has been the site of gravel mining and other habitat challenges.

The Sonoma County Water Agency, working with the Army Corps of Engineers, is working to augment habitat on the reach to provide flow refugia for steelhead trout and coho salmon.   The stream is a challenging one due to flood control issues and large variances in the annual hydrograph.  Summer flows are in the 100 cubic foot-second range (CFS) while winter storm flows have been measured above 5,000 CFS.  The creek bed is made up of gravel, mud and occasional cobble which makes for a very dynamic channel that can change dramatically in a single season.

Last season’s heavy rains caused a much woody debris to fall into and across the river…but our team prevailed!

Dry Creek Obstacles

Freshwater Map provided over 60,000 data points within a 1.2 mile reach of this stream.  These data include depth, flow velocity and 3D vectors to help our client design flow refugia and channel complexity that works with the natural forces in the channel.  It’s an example of our strong belief that when we understand the river’s natural forces, we can better design augmentations that optimize the work the river is already doing.

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