Dry Creek Habitat Enhancement Project
From its outlet at Warm Springs Dam, Sonoma County’s Dry Creek meanders 14 miles to the Russian River and is home to endangered coho salmon and threatened Chinook salmon and steelhead. The creek serves as a conduit for water that is released from Lake Sonoma by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the winter for flood control and by the Sonoma County Water Agency in the summer for water supply. The National Marine Fisheries Service’s Biological Opinion concluded that these activities are likely to jeopardize salmon recovery and identified the need to improve rearing habitat for these species in Dry Creek and the Russian River at the flows proposed for water supply.
ESA is leading the final designs for approximately 1.5 miles of Dry Creek to meet the requirements set by the Biological Opinion. The focus of the design is to create in-channel and off-channel habitat directly targeted at improving summer rearing and winter high-flow refuge for coho salmon and steelhead trout. Key design components include off-channel alcoves and side channels, instream structures to induce and maintain pool-riffle structure, large and small wood structures for habitat, biotechnical stabilization measures, and native revegetation. ESA’s design is based on detailed geomorphic assessments, hydraulic modeling (1-D and 2-D), engineering studies, and detailed site grading to create and enhance habitat that links multiple salmonid life stages with the anticipated hydrologic conditions in Dry Creek.
ESA is leading design efforts for this milestone $7 million project along 1.5 miles of Dry Creek in the ongoing collaborative effort to improve conditions and promote recovery of listed salmonid species in the Russian River Watershed.