- Submitted extensive comments and updated water rights protests against the “Fish Flow Draft EIR” which seeks to reduce river flows in summer by up to 70% in an ill-informed project to improve water quality for fish, which is seen by many as a water grab for people over fish.
- Organized Santa Rosa March for Science with over 5,000 marchers demanding we follow science to protect public health against massive federal environmental rollbacks.
- Helped organize and lead the Russian River Confluence gathering at Shone Farm to organize a conversation around improving the health of the Russian River with the community.
- Launched the Rippn’ River Bash at Front Porch Farms to raise the bar on fundraising for the Riverkeeper which was wildly successful and raised more funds than any previous effort.
- Leveraged our erosion control expertise to help lead the effort to protect the watershed from the devastating North Bay Fires and helped assess water quality impacts from the fires.
- Broke all previous records for trash removal and volunteers and miles of beach cleaned in the 30th annual Russian River Watershed Cleanup from Ukiah to Jenner.
- Helped lead the Headwaters to Ocean paddle with Landpaths for the kick-off of the Russian River Confluence movement to regenerate the health of our Russian River.
- Hired new Education & Science Director, biologist Birkin Newell and our most dedicated field coordinator Anastasia Hammond to join the Riverkeeper team.
- Kicked off advocacy with partner Food and Water Watch to stop ill-informed proposal to create Pollution Trading markets under guise of Water Quality Credit Trading, which has failed on the east coast over the last 20 years.
- Launched Clean River Alliance as a fiscally sponsored project of Russian Riverkeeper directed by Chris Brokate and his incredible team of volunteers, the garbage patch kids!
- Completed Hanson gravel pit restoration draft feasibility study resulting in preferred design that will increase groundwater recharge, provide an off-ramp for pollution and restore our once abundant salmon populations.
- Took on managing the 26 year old Russian River Watershed Cleanup from the long-time volunteer Coordinating Committee and partnered with Clean River Alliance.
- Launched the Red Wisteria (punicea sesbina) eradication project to eliminate this new deadly invader that is toxic to most local wildlife and leads to increased erosion and water loss.
- Helped get former RRK Volunteer of the Year Chris Brokate off the ground doing year around river cleanups after the floods of late December.
- Performed Riverkeeper’s first financial audit resulting in praise for the accuracy of our books and our strong financial controls which our bookkeeper Lois instituted.
- Screened Russian River All Rivers at the Raven Theater to help promote the amazing documentary on the history and future of the Russian River that our Riverkeeper is featured in.
- Opened Riverkeeper Stewardship Park in Guerneville to the public, which features restored native plant habitat and serves as an outdoor classroom for River stewardship.
- Educated over 2000 adults and over 300 students on the actions we need to take to improve the Russian River and our community’s resiliency to the negative effects of Climate Change.
- Started a water quality monitoring project to measure sediment pollution from vineyards to identify vineyard erosion control practices that keep valuable vineyard soil in the vineyard.
- Assisted with water quality sample collection and educating the public about our first ever toxic algae bloom that resulted from drought lowered flows & high temps combined with nutrient pollution from livestock, farming, leaky septic tanks and pet waste.
- Worked to pass new County Ordinance to protect Riparian areas along our river and creeks in Sonoma County and serving on the Riparian Corridor Working Group that drafted it.
- Hired RRK’s 1st Policy Director Bob Legge, who previously worked for the North Coast Waterboard regulating stormwater and conducting water quality analysis.
- Hanson gravel pit restoration secures funding for a Feasibility Study; RRK serves as Community partner to this ambitious project that promises to restore valuable ecosystem services.
- Produced #SAVEIT, a water conservation demonstration video featuring local youth actors with Bill Sorenson and his team at Sustained Extreme that produces cutting edge video.
- Settled lawsuit against Mendocino County after they weakened their stormwater ordinance to restore critical provisions that protected water quality in the river downstream of Mendocino.
- Launched construction of Riverkeeper Stewardship Park installing permanent trails and three of the nine outdoor classroom areas.
- Russian Riverkeeper received a Jefferson Award for public service from Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.
- Gravel mining did not occur on the Russian River for the last five years due to our advocacy!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 groundwater 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- Russian Riverkeeper catches mining firm dumping waste material into stream channel under unapproved 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.
- Our first River Patrol case is enforced.
- Russian Riverkeeper Project launched under direction of our first Riverkeeper, Don McEnhill.
- 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.
- 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.
- FORR organized a two-day “Steelhead Expo” with Trout Unlimited featuring talks on steelhead’s “threatened” ESA listing by National Marine Fisheries Service.
- 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.
- “Russian River In Peril” conference, 300 attended day-long discussion of the rivers ecology, threats and regulatory structure with scientists elected & federal, state and local agency officials.