Russian River

Sheriff candidate literature
KRCB/Steve Mencher

The Russian River Chamber of Commerce presented a debate among the three candidates for Sonoma County Sheriff Monday night at the Rio Theater in Monte Rio. John Mutz, Ernesto Olivares and Mark Essick all strove to convince the audience that their approach was right for the job. KRCB News Director Steve Mencher was there and has this report.


As the thermometer rises this summer, North Bay rivers and lakes might seem like a good place to cool off. But these warmer temperatures can also bring the threat of blue-green algae to our waterways. It contains a toxic bacteria harmful to people and animals. KRCB’s Tiffany Camhi reports.

Will Wet Winter Change Russian River’s Summer Flows?

May 13, 2017

In recent years, lower summertime flows in the Russian River have been necessary for water conservation as well as the benefit of young salmon preparing to head out to sea. But this year, with ample water available, the calculus may be different.

The county water agency will hold its annual community meeting on the condition and management of Russian River estuary Monday night in Monte Rio.  You can find details about that here.

The three-stage descent of the full length of the Russian River wrapped up this weekend with a public finale kayaking from Duncan’s Mills to Jenner. It was an extended prelude to a broad examination of the watershed and its future next year. 

By design, the on-the-water descent of the Russian River brought together stakeholders who hold sometimes conflicting views. Riverkeeper Don McEnhill says that shared experience holds the prospect of better working relationships going forward.

Sonoma County Regional Parks

The second of a trio of three-day kayak trips down the full length of the Russian River wrapped up today, as the participating stakeholders made landfall at Steelhead Beach near Forestville. Riverkeeper Don McEnhill is helping guide the floating conference, and he paused earlier today to discuss the changing political climate that is reshaping the environmental issues in the River's middle reach. 

A Tamer Russian River Flows into Sonoma County

Aug 26, 2016

  Most of the public access to the Russian River lies along its lower section. But this week, a group of river stakeholders, are kayaking through that upper reach, an outing organized and led by LandPaths and the Russian Riverkeeper. It was instigated by Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore, to bring attention to the river as a whole, on a larger scale. For the participants, today has been a day off the water in Hopland, filled with “tributary” events about that portion of the watershed.

The Russian River is Different in Mendocino County

Aug 25, 2016
Russian Riverkeeper

  Most of the public access to the Russian River lies along its lower section. But this week, a group of river stakeholders, are kayaking through that upper reach, an outing instigated by Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore. Craig Anderson, Executive Director of LandPaths is a co-leader of the current four-day trip, and he gave us this summary of the high points from their second day on the water.

Surveying the Upper Reach of the Russian River

Aug 24, 2016
Russian Riverkeeper

  The Russian River is the primary water way in the North Bay, but for most of its length, it flows quietly out of sight. This week, a group of river stakeholders, organized by LandPaths and Supervisor James Gore, are beginning a firsthand exploration of the waterway by kayak. Russian Riverkeeper Don McEnhill is leading the group, and checked in with KRCB to tell us about what they saw today.

Runoff and the Russian River

Jan 28, 2016
Sonoma County Water Agency

  Industry and agriculture both contribute to the degradation of water quality in California’s waterways. But the even greater source of pollutants—some 60 million tons each year--is us. But with an assist from Mother Nature. 

Gary Helfrich, CMRPD

The drought is taking a toll on local wildlife, as well as people. On today’s North Bay Report we hear of a surprising project to save local salmon.

Filmmaker Probes the Russian River's Health

Jun 15, 2015

  From gravel to grapes, dredging to drought, the many forces that shape the health of the Russian River are examined in a new documentary by a local filmmaker.

Russian River: All Rivers  will get a special  encore screening Tuesday, June 16 at the Rialto Cinemas in Sebastopol at 7 pm. See the trailer below.

Russian River Inspires Unconventional "Opera"

Dec 25, 2014

  The Russian River is the setting, the subject, and even a part of the soundtrack for an unusual “opera,” that is premiering this weekend outside of Healdsburg. Fittingly, it’s called “Stages of the Russian River.”

 You can get a feel of the flavor of the Stages of the Russian River opera from  the rehearsal video clip below.

Vineyard Frost Protection Rules to Kick in

Nov 24, 2014
Sonoma County Farm Bureau

  Winegrape growers are facing new regulations governing diversions of water from the Russian River and its tributaries for late season frost protection.  But some say that state and county bureaucracies stand in the way of a better response to the problem. The issue was the subject of an Agricultural Water Use Workshop in Cloverdale yesterday. KRCB’s Bruce Robinson was there.

Filmmaker Plunges into Russian River's Health

Oct 24, 2014

  From gravel to grapes, dredging to drought, the many forces that shape the health of the Russian River are examined in a new documentary by a local filmmaker.

“Russian River: All Rivers” will get a special screening at the Rialto Cinemas in Sebastopol on Monday, Oct. 27 at 7 pm. It will also be shown at the Rio Theater in Monte on Saturday, November 7th at 3 pm. See the trailer for the film below:

Jet Skiers Raise Risks on Russian River

Aug 11, 2014
Sebastopol Times & News

Summer on the lower Russian River is typically tranquil and laid back—but not always. Recent articles in the Sebastopol Times and News have called attention to a recurring noisy hazard on the water. Today we hear from the author of those reports.

State Studies Flow-Level Trigger for River Fishing Bans

Jul 28, 2014

  Coho and Chinook salmon are officially endangered species, even before the drought further complicated their ability to spawn. That was why the Russian River was closed to fishing altogether this past winter, on an emergency basis. Now the state Fish and Wildlife department is considering adopting a mechanism that would regulate and automate such closures in the future, by tying them to the water level in the River.

A New Invasive Plant Threatens the Russian River

Jul 16, 2014
Sonoma County Gazette

  Invasive plants along the Russian River are a fact of life in many areas--so thoroughly established they will never be eradicated. But now there is a new threat, red wisteria, which was spotted for the first time just last week. Only a handful of plants have been identified so far, raising hopes that this is one invader that might be successfully repelled.

Federal Water Bill Benefits Sonoma County

Jun 2, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Two incumbent congressmen--both up for re-election this week--held a joint press conference in Santa Rosa Monday. But the topic was water, not politics. 

The last big Federal water projects bill was passed in 2007. The new measure is smaller, and went through a more rigorous vetting process, but Congressman Mike Thompson says it still proved to be an effective vehicle for necessary local projects.

Among those local efforts, noted Santa Rosa City Council member Erin Carlstrom, was expansion of the city’s water recycling program.

Remembering Bill Schaadt

May 2, 2014
Ben Taylor

  It’s been 20 years since legendary fisherman Bill Schaadt  cast a line into a north coast river. But some of his friends and fellow anglers are trying to make sure he isn’t forgotten.

   Ben Taylor’s other favorite Bill Schaadt story involves an evening when they were out on the Gualala River well past sundown.

Schaadt was in his 20s when he came to the Russian River just after World War II, where he found and bought the small riverside cabin that became his home in Monte Rio. And as Taylor recounts, Bill never really left after that.

Russian River Project Earns Restoration Award

Apr 8, 2014
Bioengineering Associates

Using structures of woven willow, rather than tons of rock, is a more natural—and less costly-- way to repair eroding riverbanks. One recent example on the lower Russian River just won a national award.

Even before they received the award, Oddfellows Recreation Club Executive Director Jack Davies says their alternative approach to the repair work had yielded multiple advantages.

  One of the many challenges in the restoration project, says project manager Cam Parry, involved working around the redwoods on the site, both standing and fallen.

Buried Jetty at Goat Rock Beach to be Studied

Mar 6, 2014

  The flat rocky connection between Goat Rock and the adjacent State Beach is NOT the Goat Rock Jetty. That’s a parking lot, but the jetty is rock wall now buried beneath the sand at the mouth of the Russian River. It’s also the subject of a new study that gets underway today, and here’s what that’s all about.

While the study of the Goat Rock State Beach Jetty is underway, the beach will remain open to the public as usual and every effort will be made to avoid disturbing the seals and sea lions that congregate on the sand nearby.