How’s your local stream flowing?

At Sonoma Ecology Center we’ve been watching the streams closely, and in some cases – along specific streams where landowners gave us permission – we’ve set up gauges that are generating useful data on streamflow in Sonoma Valley.

It’s all part of our Streamflow Stewardship Program, launched in partnership with Trout Unlimited with the goal of creating a plan to enhance streamflow in the upper Sonoma Creek Watershed. Better streamflow would not only support steelhead and other aquatic wildlife, but improve the water supply for the Valley’s human residents as well.

So far we’ve installed five gauges, and we’ll be looking for three more locations next summer. The hosts of these gauges say they’re happy to take part in solving the problem of low streamflow, which bedevils Sonoma Creek every summer.

One such host is Morton’s Warm Springs, a Glen Ellen resort that gave us access to the stretch of Sonoma Creek running behind their facility. “All of us here at Morton’s Warm Springs are honored to be partnering with the Sonoma Ecology Center and Trout Unlimited in their Streamflow Stewardship Program,” said managing steward Sean Wadsworth. “We’re excited to see how we can participate in direct solutions here in the Valley as well as support more broad education efforts aimed at how we can better steward our local watersheds for a resilient and prosperous future.”

The specific streams being studied in this project are all located in the Valley’s upper watershed: Sonoma Creek in Glen Ellen and at Warm Springs Road, Yulupa Creek at Bennett Valley Road, Graham Creek at Sonoma Mountain Road, Zen Creek at Sonoma Mountain Road and Enterprise Road, and lower Calabazas Creek at Dunbar Road and Nuns Canyon Road. Landowners with streamside property in any of these places are encouraged to visit our Streamflow Stewardship Program page and contact us at the number provided there. (Please note that we are not a regulatory agency and are not working for one. Site-specific streamflow data will never be used against a landowner.)

We’d also like to offer a heartfelt THANK YOU to the many landowners and other individuals and businesses who have so graciously supported our streamflow project. Together, we can make this Valley better.

Here’s a video taken last Saturday showing one big reason we’re doing this work: the fresh and cold water flowing at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, Sonoma Creek’s headwaters: