One of the most striking things about our new shelter in place “normal” was our instant gut reaction to get outside. And now, our continuing desire to get outside once again. In none of our wildest dreams could we have imagined that one day our ability to walk to the park or go to the beach on a warm Spring day would be taken away from us. But, an unexpected and deadly virus  made many of our public natural spaces unsafe, and that is where we have found ourselves today.

Because we can only daydream about our favorite outdoor places right now, think about the last time you were at the beach. What do you remember most about that day? Was it the feeling of warm sunshine and sand between your toes? Was there an octopus in the tidepools? Or was parking impossible and tons of people everywhere? Whatever it may be, good or bad, think about what could have made it just that much more perfect.

That’s where Russian Riverkeeper comes in. Through our advocacy efforts, we work to take that beach memory to the next level so that every time you go back, it is even better. This may seem odd since we are a RIVER keeper, but really, every win we get for the river is also a win for our coasts as everything flows downstream. With the ability to connect multiple ecosystems at once, rivers offer a unique opportunity for coastal protection that is often left untapped.

Russian Riverkeeper recently submitted comments on the Draft Proposal for Sonoma County’s Local Coastal Plan, which is used to protect 55 miles of coastline.  In our comments, we primarily focused on the untested power of Sonoma County to lead us towards substantial water quality improvements by thinking of the coastal zone, the Russian River, and the greater watershed as one unit, with each influencing the other. If coast was treated as part of the larger picture, the Local Coastal Plan could possibly be used to help manage upstream pollution sources. This simple change in thought could then translate to improvements in areas such as pollution discharges, wildlife habitat, coastal acidity, crab population and health, kelp forest growth, and coastal stability.

Even during the coronavirus pandemic, Russian Riverkeeper continues to work on your behalf to protect the special places we need now more than ever. We look forward to connecting with you—on and off the river—as soon as it is safe to do so.

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