Accomplishments

2012

Settled lawsuits challenging approval of two large gravel mining projects on the river and gained stronger protections for wildlife, new mitigation funding and a seat at the table in the annual mining review process.

Partnering with gravel company Hanson Aggregates to explore restoring former open pit gravel mines as off-channel habitat which could fill the biggest need for restoring the historic populations of Coho Salmon and Steelhead Trout.

Completed the Wetzel Native Plant Garden, the highlight of the 3 -year Foss Creek Community Restoration Project, with the help of over 300 community volunteers!

Struck down a poorly written bill that would have weakened controls on treated wastewater and put wildlife and water quality at risk in the Russian River with help from our partner California Coastkeeper Alliance.

Launched the Russian River SWIM Guide to provide information on water quality at recreational beaches on the Russian River and Sonoma Coast via smartphones.

Empowered another 170 high school students to permanently reduce stormwater pollution on their campus at Cloverdale and Healdsburg High Schools through our Clean Campus Clean Creeks program.

Educated in-person over 2400 community members on the value of protecting and restoring the health of the Russian River.

2011

Completed 2200 square foot Rain Garden at the Healdsburg High School with students as part of Clean Campus Clean Creeks program in collaboration with the Healdsburg Education Foundation.
Expanded restoration and education efforts at Riverkeeper Stewardship Park in Guerneville and Foss Creek Community Restoration project in Healdsburg.
Continued leading the effort to minimize gravel mining impacts to the Russian River and our community through advocacy and litigation in Ukiah and Alexander Valley against two large mining projects.
Maintained our “On the River” presence to deter polluters and document conditions.
Helped reduce pollution in our River by cleaning a historic dump site in the lower River.
Filed lawsuit against Mendocino County’s weakening of their Stormwater Pollution Ordinance that would do little to reduce polluted run-off from most the the upper watershed.
Launched the Great Russian River Race with over 250 paddlers as well as our Celebrate Program to get the community to the Russian River to have fun and connect with our most valuable natural resource.

2010

We implemented the first Clean Creeks, Clean Campus Project in collaboration with Healdsburg High School.
We strengthened and expanded restoration and education efforts at Riverkeeper Stewardship Park and Foss Creek Community Restoration Project.
We welcomed 2 new valuable Board Members.
Working with partner WASA we settled the final lawsuit ending decades of open pit gravel mining on the Russian River and led effort to minimize in-stream gravel mining impacts thru advocacy and public debate.
We maintained our “On the River” presence to deter polluters and document conditions.
We filed a protest against permanent flow reductions in the river and led an effort to ensure that a thorough and independent science review is conducted.

2009

We completed our five-year Strategic Plan that will guide our efforts to protect and restore the Russian River.
We protected the River from the NSCARP proposal to use 2.2 billion gallons of treated wastewater on North County vineyards that would have degraded our surface and roundwater quality.
We worked to establish the Marine Protected Area in the Russian River estuary and beyond to protect salmon and the ecosystem.
We launched a new urban restoration project on Foss Creek in Healdsburg.
We submitted testimony in support of recently adopted Santa Rosa/ Sonoma County stormwater permit that will require new controls on development to reduce stormwater pollution.
We participated in public meetings, non-profit gatherings, and the media to protect the River at every opportunity.
We conducted over 60 inspections of pollution sites and responded to 39 public complaints.

2008

We worked to protect fisheries in and around the Jenner Estuary under California’s Marine Life Protection Act.
We continued the ongoing battle to end gravel mining in the River and its aquifers.
We worked to protect groundwater and surface water from wastewater pollutants that affect fish and the River ecosystem.
We continued removing invasive vegetation, planting native plants and developing interpretive trails at Riverkeeper Stewardship Park in Guerneville with help from volunteers including employee groups from Marmot Mountain and Medtronic.
We improved water quality in the Russian River by achieving a settlement with Redwood Empire Sawmill in Cloverdale for storm water pollution prevention measures and the payment of mitigation funds to help restore local waterways.

2007

We exposed and stopped the daily discharge of 250,000 gallons of toxic processed water from Syar gravel plant.
We documented the highest readings ever for muddy water from a construction site that was fined and led to increased construction site pollution enforcement.
We gave testimony in Sacramento that lead to the Mandatory Water Conservation Order that favored a flowing River over green lawns in cities.
Riverkeeper Stewardship Park in Guerneville benefited from over 850 volunteer hours!

2006

We stopped Syar gravel mining permit for Healdsburg area due to lack of mitigation and poor past performance on previous projects.
We published Russian River Citizens Survey of Pesticides in Urban Creeks detailing declining levels of Diazinon and presence of Diazinon replacement products in our creeks.
We stopped the largest bank armoring project in the watershed proposed by Vino Farms.
We graduated 2006 class of Creekkeeper Volunteers.

2005

Russian Riverkeeper launches the Foss Creek Community Restoration Project.
Riverkeeper gets donation of 5-acre riverside parcel in Guerneville and will manage demonstration native plant revegetation and creation of natural community park.
We launched the Creekkeeper Academy to train 24 Creekkeepers each year to serve two years monitoring a section of the watershed.
We joined the California Coastkeeper Alliance of all 12 California Waterkeeper programs creating a statewide voice for all our waters.
We changed our name from FORR to Russian Riverkeeper!

2004

We outlined a study plan that was later funded by the county to independently review “Low Flow” proposal to improve habitat for endangered fish. Study found no evidence to support the hypothesis that lowering flows will help the struggling fish populations.
We were awarded State contract for largest study in the watershed of pesticide concentrations in urban creeks.

2003

Russian Riverkeeper catches mining firm dumping waste material into stream channel under un-approved revegetation project,
Hosts ” Pipe Schemes” at the Raven Theater: a forum on Santa Rosas wastewater plans for the Russian River.
Riverkeeper becomes technical coordinator for the Russian River First Flush citizen monitoring program monitoring 36 sites in urban creeks across the watershed with over 200 trained volunteers.

2002

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. officially launches the Riverkeeper boat & speaks at an evening fundraiser.
Our first River Patrol case is enforced.

2001

Russian Riverkeeper Project launched under direction of our first Riverkeeper, Don McEnhill.

1999

FORR published white paper on Sonoma County Water Agency’s practices and Sonoma Counties Aggregate Resource Management Plan.
Joined Friends of the Eel River in a lawsuit on a new county water plan that ignored grave impacts from Eel River diversion.

1998

FORR board worked with grape growers to craft agricultural practices standards to protect habitat values and prevent erosion when hillsides are converted to vineyards, which lead to Sonoma Countys’ Hillside Vineyard Ordinance.

1997

FORR organized a two-day “Steelhead Expo” with Trout Unlimited featuring talks on steelhead’s “threatened” ESA listing by National Marine Fisheries Service.

1995

Filed notice of intent to sue state of California over violations of the Public Trust Doctrine in the Russian River, leading to the creation of Watershed Council of stakeholders to work on a comprehensive watershed management and fishery restoration plan.

1994

“Russian River In Peril” conference, 300 attended day-long discussion of the rivers ecology, threats and regulatory structure with scientists electeds & federal, state and local agency officials.

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