Sonoma Water begins inflating rubber dam on Russian River
Courtesy USGS. Photo by C. D. Farrar

Sonoma Water begins inflating rubber dam on Russian River

Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) began the multi-day process of inflating its rubber dam located in the Russian River near Forestville this week.

Sonoma Water typically inflates the rubber dam in late spring or early summer when demand for potable water increases. The dam has been put up early the last couple years due to dry conditions. This year Sonoma Water is back on a more normal schedule to the extra rainfall California received this winter.

Depending on river flows, the process to inflate the dam can take 4-14 days. When fully inflated, the dam creates a small pool of water that Sonoma Water draws water for use in four off-stream infiltration ponds. The infiltration ponds help recharge groundwater.

The rubber dam is located downstream of the Wohler Bridge on the Russian River. When the rubber dam is raised, a permanent fish ladder provides fish passage and allows Sonoma Water to count the migration of adult salmon and steelhead with its underwater video system located in the fish ladder.

Boaters must portage around the rubber dam. Public notices will be posted around the rubber dam warning the public not to recreate on or near the dam. California Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations prohibit fishing within 250 feet of the upstream and downstream sides of the rubber dam.

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