October Rains Push Russian River Flow Way Above Average, Helping Salmon

KCBS_740 GUERNEVILLE, Sonoma County (KCBS) — Much of the Bay Area received above average rainfall during the month of October.

Reservoir levels are up in several counties, especially northern Sonoma County where the steady rainfall there is helping native fish populations.

“So, we’re at least a month before the typical timing,” Doug Manning, Environmental Resources Manager for the Sonoma County Water Agency told KCBS.

The agency uses an inflatable dam to slow the river, and help Chinook salmon migrate during the drier months, but there’s no need for that right now with the higher river levels.

“The fish are easily able to move upstream when the river flow is like this. And in fact, it gives them access to a lot of the small tributary streams in the Russian River,” Manning said.

The river is flowing at 2,500 cubic feet per second in some parts, far above the 200 cubic feet per second flow that is normal for this time of year.

Chinook and Coho salmon are a threatened species. Steelhead, which also spawn along the Russian River are an endangered species.

“Hopefully they’ll survive well throughout this winter and spring,” Manning said.

More from Jeffrey Schaub
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