Bibliography Background About KRIS

KRIS Russian River Info Links

The information below describes data, maps, photographs, and bibliographic references currently found in KRIS Russian River.  Each section is designed to be accessed directly from relevant topics in KRIS via the Info Links tab, but a scan of the text below will provide an overview of contents of KRIS Russian River.


Maps available in the KRIS Russian database draw from many different sources of spatial data. Once you have loaded the database on your hard drive, if you highlight a theme in the built-in KRIS Map viewer, clicking the Metadata button ("M" icon) on the toolbar will provide access to full metadata. Press F1 on the Map Viewer page to learn more about KRIS Map Viewer tools. Data represent pertinent information for understanding conditions for anadromous fish and their habitat, including water quality. Map images are static on the Internet, although there may be clickable hot links to data or photos. The equivalent of complete Views (projects in ArcView) are represented in the database (from CD) in "MapMaster" topics, which are not available on the Internet. For people with ArcView, separate KRIS Russian Maps CDs will also be made available. Full ArcView projects often use the Spatial Analyst but are also viewable without that extension with the grid data converted to an image. Use of ArcView with Spatial Analyst gives the greatest query power for relationships of various themes.

Fisheries Data from the Sonoma County Water Agency

The Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) directly monitors and evaluates of fish populations and fish habitat in the Russian River.  Initially begun in response to the Threatened and Endangered designations of coho salmon, chinook salmon and steelhead trout, and the need to provide biological assessment of potential impacts from Agency projects, the program has expanded to include spawning surveys, mainstem dive surveys, and examination of habitat in some tributaries.   This research and monitoring has greatly advanced understanding of current fish populations in the Russian River.  See Russian River Action Plan (SCWA, 2002) for an overview of various activities designed to protect and restore anadromous fish populations.

The first three projects listed below are part of a 5-year program designed to assess the impacts of the Mirabel inflatable dam on listed anadromous fish species.  The initial year of the program was 2000, although some pilot work was done in 1999. 

Downstream Migrant Trapping at Mirabel Dam:  Rotary screw traps are used to monitor the downstream migration of fish and a mark and recapture effort was applied in 2001 and 2002 to estimate the total number of chinook smolts at this point in the river.  Methods and results are available in two annual reports titled Mirabel Dam/Wohler Pool Fish Sampling Program (SCWA 2000, SCWA 2001).

Electrofishing at Mirabel/Wohler:  An electrofishing boat is used to capture fish present throughout the Wohler pool and in a section of river downstream from Mirabel Dam.  The extensive sampling is designed to detect changes in the fish community structure above and below the dam and relationships between the fish community and habitat including flow and water temperature. Special emphasis is directed at understanding the distribution and abundance of pikeminnow, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass which can all predate on juvenile salmon. Methods and results are contained in the program reports listed above. 

Adult Passage at Mirabel Dam: To assess the direct impact of the Mirabel Dam on migration of adult salmon, underwater video stations at the top of the fish ladders and direct observations are made in the pool below the dam.  Results from the first three years of monitoring indicate that the dam is not a barrier for chinook salmon that migrate past in surprisingly large numbers.  Methods and results are contained in the program reports listed above. 

Chinook Salmon Spawning in the Mainstem: SCWA monitored holding and spawning fall chinook salmon closely in the in the mainstem Russian River in 2002 because the run was extraordinarily large and flows were relatively low. The study consisted of: "underwater visual (dive) surveys for holding adult chinook and redd surveys at spawning sites. Also, video monitoring of migrating adult Chinook was conducted as part of a Sonoma County Water Agency Mirabel Inflatable Dam/Wohler Pool Fish Sampling Program. The study area included the upper Russian River. The river was sectioned into five reaches based on gradient and surrounding topography.  These were named Ukiah, Canyon, Alexander Valley, Healdsburg, and Dry Creek.  Video and dive observations were used to coordinate the start of redd surveys. Methods and results are available in the Chinook Salmon Redd Study Fall 2002.

Steelhead Rearing in the Upper Mainstem:  From July to September 2002, SCWA, in coordination with other agencies, conducted a survey of fish using four reaches of the mainstem Russian River from below Lake Mendocino to below Healdsburg. The Upper Russian River Steelhead Distribution Study (SCWA, 2003) describes the relative abundance of steelhead in these four reaches, the habitat characteristics of each reach  and also includes many photographs of the habitat and fishes.  Most significant among findings was that steelhead were most numerous in the Canyon Reach from below Hopland to just above Cloverdale and barely present in the Alexander Valley Reach.

Population and Habitat Monitoring in Tributaries: SCWA is working in cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Game and NOAA Fisheries to effectively monitor coho and steelhead populations in tributaries of the Russian River. This is an ongoing project.  The first three years of effort have focused on methodology but also produced Data Report 1990-2000 (SCWA, 2002), which describes electrofishing surveys in Santa Rosa, Millington, and Mark West creeks and snorkel surveys in Sheephouse and Green Valley creeks.

For additional information on methods of fisheries data collection and use of data in analysis, see the Fish Populations Background page.

Hatchery Information from Steiner Environmental Consulting and CDFG

Valuable information on hatchery returns and releases, as well as plantings of exotic fishes in the Russian River are available in A History of the Salmonid Decline in the Russian River, a 1996 report by Steiner Environmental Consulting (SEC).  This report assembles available information on hatchery operations from the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG).  The report also estimates the overall trend in abundance for salmon and steelhead in the Russian River using a variety of information including historical reports.  The report was sponsored by the Sonoma County Water Agency and the California Coastal Conservancy and was reviewed by many experts on the Russian River.  

More current data on adult returns to Warm Springs was obtained from a Warm Springs Fish Hatchery website that may no longer be available over the internet.  These data are reported to come directly from CDFG but show some minor discrepancies compared with data from Steiner (1996) and neither have been confirmed at this time.

The Steiner Report lists impacts from hatcheries as one of five anthropogenic factors contributing to the decline of salmonids in the Russian River.  The report describes how awareness of ecological distinctness and genetic integrity began to influence hatchery and planting activities in the 1980's, after 100 years of massive stock manipulation.

Since 1870, approximately 40 million hatchery-reared salmonids have been planted in the Russian River system: 8 million chinook salmon, 2 million coho salmon, and 30 million steelhead. In addition, from 1939 to 1971 juvenile chinook and steelhead rescued from drying streams in the Russian and Eel River systems were planted to the mainstem Russian. For the first century of hatchery supplementation, nearly all fish planted were from out-of-basin stocks. The majority of chinook and coho were from North Coast, Sacramento, Klamath, or Wisconsin hatcheries, while most steelhead came from North Coast hatcheries.

The Steiner Report discusses the causes and impacts associated with altered species composition in the Russian River.  While the introduction of non-native species is causal, the dramatic shift toward warm-water species is also the result of increased summer flows, lack of cold water refugia, the alteration of habitat by channelization, removal of riparian, diversions and impoundments. The report focuses on limiting factors associated with the mainstem Russian River and provides very little information regarding the factors affecting habitat in tributaries.

Fisheries Data from the California Department of Fish and Game

Efforts by the California Department of Fish and Game to monitor fish in the Russian River in the 1990's have primarily used single-pass electrofishing or seine netting in short reaches (usually 30 meters) of stream in conjunction with habitat surveys.  This quick method also involves some description of habitat in the sample area collected when the sample is taken. Data are collected to detect the presence of sensitive species such as coho salmon as well as document fish community structure in dispersed locations. The California Department of Fish and Game 2002 Draft Russian River Basin Fisheries Restoration Plan (CDFG, 2002) was prepared by Bob Coey and many who assisted him.  The Draft Plan has a great deal information on life histories of anadromous salmonids, limiting factors and historical runs.

The first known report of fisheries in the Russian River was issued by Leo Shapovalov in 1944 (CDFG, 1944) and describes a vibrant steelhead fishery augmented by 76,000 hatchery plantings per year.  Chemical treatment was used in the 1950's and 60's in attempts to eradicate undesirable "roughfish".  These stream poisoning projects would kill virtually all the fish in the stream and the numbers of each species would be documenting, thus providing a uniquely quantitative measure of fish community structure. Numerous reports from these chemical treatments are available in the KRIS Bibliography as are other types of stream surveys.

Beach seines were used by Bill Cox in 1984 to document fish communities from the estuary to Hopland.  This single effort provides a valuable perspective on the way different species distribute themselves (CDFG, 1984).  Also of unique value was a study of Coleman Creek by John Emig that examined the effect of logging on steelhead abundance and the percent fine sediment in the streambed.

For more general information on this overall subject, see the Fish Populations Background page.

Fisheries Data from Merritt Smith Consulting and the City of Santa Rosa

Merritt Smith Consulting conducted migrant fish trapping and beach seine sampling in southern tributaries of the Russian River with the purpose of evaluating potential effects of reclaimed water discharged to Santa Rosa Creek by the Santa Rosa Sub-regional Reclamation System.  Data were published in the Santa Rosa Subregional Long-Term Wastewater Project, Anadromous Fish Migration Study Program reports, 1991-1994 (April 11, 1995) and 1991-1995 (April 1996).  Circuit Rider Productions, Inc. created spatial databases from data available for the period between October 1993 to May 1995 and made these available in the NOAA Russian River GIS.  

Fyke nets were used to record adult and juvenile salmonid migrations in three tributaries of the Russian River (Santa Rosa Creek, Mark West Creek, and Maacama Creek) during the period 1990-1995.  The project identified Maacama Creek as a control stream for evaluation of fisheries in Santa Rosa and Mark West Creeks.  Fyke nets were fished in upstream and downstream directions.  Data collected includes information for steelhead, coho and chinook adults and juveniles.  The study period included both normal and unusually dry rainfall seasons. Data for total salmonids caught per day was only available for the 1993/94 and 1994/95 monitoring years. Separate summaries were prepared for each species, life stage and travel direction (upstream or downstream).  Fyke netting is only effective during low to moderate stream flow periods so data should not be used to estimate annual salmonid populations. 

Beach seine monitoring of salmonid migration to evaluate spawning success, fry or fingerling production, and juvenile survival in Green Valley Creek, Maacama Creek, Mark West Creek, and Santa Rosa Creek over eight rearing seasons (1994-2001).  Three additional sites were added in 2000, but the data were insufficient for analysis in KRIS Russian.  Monitoring was conducted at the beginning (July) and end (October-November) of the summer dry period to enable estimation of juvenile growth rate. Juvenile abundance monitoring was conducted within "index zones,” with each stream divided into upper, middle and lower reaches, based on elevation, average gradient, and distance from the Russian River.  

For KRIS Russian, data were summed for each stream. For more information on understanding data collection and analysis methods, see the Fish Populations Background page.

Russian River Estuary Fish Sampling

Biological, physical and limnological studies of the Russian River estuary were initiated by Sonoma County in 1992-1993 to study the effects of the county’s breaching related to flood control (Heckel et al, 1994). Follow up studies focused on biological and water quality sampling at four fixed locations.  Reports were prepared by Merritt Smith Consulting and SCWA staff in the years following each year of work (1996, 1997, 1998, 2001).  A total of 54 species was captured in the Russian River estuary with catch varying by year (see table of catch). Species that were captured every year include salt water species (sanddabs, Pacific herring, surf smelt, bay pipefish), freshwater and anadromous species (Sacramento sucker, steelhead) and fish tolerant of fresh, salt or brackish water (stickleback, prickly and staghorn sculpin).

The initial estuary fish samples were collected from June through November 1992 and in April and May of 1993 by Dr. Jennifer Nielsen (Nielsen and Light, 1994 in Heckel et al, 1994). Sampling locations varied more than follow up studies, with samples both when the estuary was closed and after breaching (see table of survey details). Many different sampling techniques were tried including beach seines, deep water otter trawl nets, hook and line, benthic pipe traps and both backpack and boat electrofishing. This reconnaissance phase identified less effective sampling techniques that were not used in follow up studies. For example, the pipe traps targeted tidewater gobies and since none were found this sampling technique was not used thereafter. Beach seine and otter trawl sampling were chosen because they represented effective methods and were best suited to judge fish community response to breaching. After 1996 study design was modified to specifically sample before, during and after each breaching event, which improved the ability to characterize the effects on the fish community.

Beach Seine : Monitoring reports issued in 1996 and 1997 describe the use of the beach seine in the Russian River estuary: “Beach seines surround an area, isolating the fish within; they are more effective at catching fast-swimming species (including salmonids) than bottom trawls. Beach seines sample the whole water column in shallow (up to 8 feet) near-shore areas.  These areas are typically fresh or brackish, so marine species are not usually caught. The beach seine used in this study is 100 ft. long, 8 ft. deep, with an 8 by 8 by 8 ft. bag in the center, and is composed of 3/8 in. mesh knotless nylon netting.  The seine was usually deployed by using the boat to pull one end offshore, then around in a half-circle while the other end was held onshore by another person.  Both field team members then pulled the net ashore by hand.  In some favorable circumstances (firm bottom, low current velocity), the net was deployed by wading, without use of the boat, but there was nothing in the data to indicate that this made any difference in the catches.”  Seines could not always be used at some locations during flooding estuary conditions because banks became too steep or at Station #2 in 1997-1999 under any flows because of large wood deposited there.

 Otter Trawl: “Otter trawl sampling was conducted in the deep channel at each station to collect slow-moving, benthic fishes and macro-invertebrates (e.g., crabs, shrimp, and mysids).  The trawl used is eight feet wide at the mouth, with 1/8 in. (square) mesh throughout.  Single tows of four minutes duration were conducted at each station.  The trawl was towed at 3-5 mph. behind a 16 ft. aluminum skiff powered by a 25 hp. outboard motor” (Merritt Smith, 1996). Otter trawls were conducted in fixed time periods (4 minutes), but sometimes hit snags or obstructions during a tow. If the trawl was at least 2 1/2 minutes, then it was counted or re-done if less (SCWA, 2001).

For additional information on methods of fisheries data collection and use of data in analysis, see the Fish Populations Background page.

Coho Presence and Absence Surveys

The presence or absence of coho salmon in streams historically inhabited by the species has become one of the main measure of coho status in northwestern California. Brown et al. (1994) used presence and absence and other data to characterize the status of coho salmon in California up to 1994.  Data in KRIS Russian database come from the California Department of Fish and Game, which did an exhaustive survey of northwestern California to determine the status of coho (CDFG, 2002). Their database also includes all previous CDFG samples back to 1988, Brown and Moyle (1991), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) data (Adams et al. 1999), presence and absence studies funded by NMFS (Brownell et al., 1999), and other data from timber companies, tribes, counties, consultants, and other federal agencies.  CDFG (2002) summed up the status of coho regionally as follows: "widespread extirpation or near-extinctions have already occurred within some larger stream systems (e.g. Gualala and Russian rivers) or over broad geographical areas (e.g. Sonoma County coast, San Francisco Bay tributaries, streams south of San Francisco)". 

The NMFS reassessed California coho status based on data collected through the year 2000 in the Coho Status Report (2001) .  The Status Report offers the following caveat for understanding the use of presence/absence data: "It is important to note that a record of 'presence' does not necessarily indicate persistent populations. Nor does a record of 'absence' preclude the possibility of coho salmon within the system, only that they were not detected during sampling." Because the varying returns of different year classes of coho, three consecutive years of survey are needed for definitive presence/absence information.  

IFR KRIS project staff created an ArcView shape file from the a CDFG non-spatial presence-absence database provided by Scott Harris. These data are subject to revision as CDFG and NMFS revise complete quality assurance and quality control of the data. See the metadata file in the KRIS Map Viewer for more detailed information on the spatial data treatment.  IFR KRIS staff also extracted coho salmon presence and absence information from spatial data from the Circuit Rider Productions Russian River GIS. These data had presence and absence information collected by CDFG as part of basin planning and some analysis is available in the California Department of Fish and Game 2002 Draft Russian River Basin Fisheries Restoration Plan (CDFG, 2002).

For additional information see the Status of Pacific Salmon Species in Northwestern California Background page.

Stream Habitat Surveys by the California Department of Fish and Game

California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) began stream habitat surveys (i.e. habitat inventories) in the Russian River in 1994, and by 2001 had completed 60% of all tributary streams.  CDFG did not share raw habitat typing data or electronic versions of stream survey reports for use in the KRIS Russian database.  Data from these surveys was obtained from spatial data sets published in the NOAA Russian River Watershed GIS.  Available data was summarized by reach.  Particular streams may have multiple reaches, based on variation in channel type including gradient.  KRIS Russian contains all available data from 450 reaches on 154 streams.  

CDFG habitat surveys generate data describing many aspects of stream habitat provide an inventory of stream conditions in both quantitative and qualitative format.  Protocols follow the California Salmonid Restoration Manual (CDFG, 1998).  Coey (2002) summarized findings of habitat surveys, but Summary data by reach is used in KRIS which was derived  To learn more about using fish habitat data, check the Habitat Typing Background page.

Russian River Habitat Surveys by Circuit Rider Productions

As part of the Russian River Resource Enhancement and Public Access Plan, Circuit Riders Productions, Inc. conducted surveys of instream habitat in two reaches of the Russian River: Alexander Valley and Mendocino. The Mendocino reach extends from the confluence of the Russian River and the East Fork Russian River downstream to sixty feet upstream from where the US Highway 101 Hopland Bridge crosses the Russian River. The Alexander Valley Reach extends from the confluence of Big Sulphur Springs to the intersection of the mainstem and the Alexander Valley Bridge.  This dataset contains information describing the instream habitat in terms of habitat type, thalweg depth, substrate type, shelter rating, as well as erosional information.  Data on habitat type and maximum pool depths are charted in KRIS topics

To learn more about using fish habitat data, check the Habitat Typing Background page.


Riparian and Aquatic Habitat Monitoring by Sonoma County Water Agency

The Sonoma County Aggregate Resources Plan (1994) recommended that the County implement a program for “monitoring of riparian and aquatic habitat along the river” in order to assess potential impacts from gravel extraction.  Sonoma County Water Agency produced the 1998 Riparian and Aquatic Habitat Monitoring Program Report (Parsons and Chase 2000) which describes preliminary monitoring and results.  The program involved measuring riparian and channel attributes at transects on three different reaches of the mainstem Russian: two in the Alexander Valley (near Cloverdale and Geyserville) and one near Windsor (Middle Reach). Riparian vegetation was examined by a combination of ground surveys and aerial photo analysis to describe cover by different types of vegetation, species composition, density, and tree size.  Aquatic habitat was described using ground-based surveys that mapped habitat types and measured shelter, canopy cover, bed composition and water temperature.   Lack of access through private lands prevented implementation of the riparian monitoring for the Middle Reach in 1998.  The two Alexander Valley reaches were stratified into areas upstream, within, and downstream of gravel operations.

See the Habitat Typing and Channel Morphology page to understand more about monitoring and changes in channels related to gravel extraction.

Data from the Division of Water Rights

The State Water Resource Control Board Division of Water Rights (SWRCB-DWR) is responsible for evaluating applications and issuing permits for the diversion of surface water from streams in California.  SWRCB-DWR currently provides information on such applications and permits in a non-database format that precludes direct assimilation in KRIS.  Fortunately, a consultant under contract to the Mennen Environmental Foundation compiled this information for all streams in Sonoma and Mendocino County, as of March 22, 2001, into spreadsheets.  Description of this work is available in the summary reports:  Water Division Report for Sonoma County, Water Division Report for Mendocino County. 

The data available to the KRIS Project in the form of spreadsheets still did not enable easy and accurate assimilation.   For this reason, the source table on water rights data in KRIS pertains only to a subset of streams in the Russian River basin.  The selected streams are those in Sonoma County where coho salmon have been detected since 1988. 

The SWRCB-DWR does not report maximum allowable diversion rate or maximum allowable use for every application or permit.  For this reason, the data in KRIS Russian may not reflect actual amounts of water subject to permitted or pending diversion.   While more thorough record keeping and reporting would help understand total potential legal or pending diversion, actual amounts of diversion can only be determined by direct field measurements.  Actual diversion would include illegal diversion and diversion under riparian rights. Riparian owners may appropriate and use surface water under a claim of riparian right and are not required apply for an appropriation permit or to notify the SWRCB of the quantity of water diverted or used.  

For more information on this subject, see the Stream Flow  Background page.

Flow Data in KRIS Russian  

USGS Flow: Most flow data in the KRIS Russian project come from the U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS).  Annual peaks, monthly average and daily average flow records are reported in cubic feet per second.  Water years (WY) begin on October 1 of the prior calendar year. For example, the 1998 water year started on October 1, 1997 and ended on September 30, 1998.  

See the Stream Flow  Background page for more information.

Dry Creek Flow Analysis: The Institute of Fisheries Resources (IFR) KRIS Project staff utilized the USGS daily average flow data record for Dry Creek near Geyserville, CA (US Geological Survey gage station #11465200) and the Indicators of Hydrologic Alteration (IHA) flow statistics model to analyze the hydrologic regime characteristics of Dry Creek before and after the completion and closure of Warm Springs Dam in 1983.  The IHA model was developed by The Nature Conservancy and Smythe Scientific to statistically characterize environmental regimes and to analyze changes in those characteristics over time

Russian River Basin Rainfall Data

Climate data available in the KRIS Russian project come from several sources: the California Data Exchange Center (CDEC) database, the National Weather Service, and James Goodridge, former state climatologist and now consultant to the California Department of Water Resources.  CDEC is a network of State and Federal agencies that collect and share climate data over the Internet, with real time gauges at some locations. Much of the data on CDEC is collected by the California Department of Water Resources. The primary purpose of the cooperative project is to assess and monitor flood risk. 

For more information on this overall subject, see the Precipitation Background page.

Water Quality Data from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board

The North Coast Region Water Quality Control Board (NCRWQCB) has been monitoring water quality in the Russian River and some tributaries since 1973.  The overall purpose of the program is to evaluate compliance with the Basin Plan (NCRWQCB 2001) and examine the effects of waste water discharge on water quality.  The NCRWQCB maintains a database of water quality measures dating back to 1973 and includes some measurements taken by the Department of Water Resources and the USGS (Sylvester and Church 1984).  The entire database was made available for use in KRIS by staff of the NCRWQCB.  KRIS topics summarize the data by use of sites with the most substantial and long-term monitoring effort and reference to Basin Plan Objectives.  The table below shows Basin Plan objectives for the Russian River. While these criteria are specific to two sections of the mainstem Russian River, the “Tributary Rule” of the Basin Plan states that tributaries must meet the criteria of the water body that they flow into.

Basin Plan Objectives for the Russian River are currently under review by the NCRWQCB with consideration of the habitat requirements of listed salmonid species.  This process was initiated by a request from the Sonoma County Water Agency and is reported in a preliminary Review of Russian River Water Quality Objectives (CRWQCB 2000).  

See Russian River Basin Water Quality Objectives (NCRWQCB 1994):


Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP):  SWAMP was initiated in 2000 and is a state-wide program with the aim of developing comprehensive water quality information for California.  According to the SWAMP work plan for 2002-2003 (SWRCB, 2002 at, monitoring included four long-term monitoring stations in the Russian River watershed, including the Laguna de Santa Rosa. These data were not made available for use in KRIS.  For more information about protocols, see the SWAMP Quality Assurance and Control Plan at

For more general information on this overall subject, see the Water Quality Background page.

Water Quality Data from the Community Clean Water Institute (CCWI)

The Community Clean Water Institute (CCWI) coordinates a citizen monitoring program in the Russian River area.  Volunteer monitors for CCWI are often associated with neighborhood or watershed groups. CCWI trains volunteers in how to use the equipment, and lends the equipment to them on a monthly basis.  Data collected includes: pH, flow, nitrogen/nitrate, dissolved oxygen (DO), temperature, phosphorus/phosphate, conductivity (ions), and turbidity.   While CCWI collected water quality data on 14 streams in the Russian River basin, only Dutch Bill Creek had sufficient sampling effort to warrant summarizing data at the scale of the individual stream. References on KRIS Russian CCWI charts are based on Russian River Basin Plan Objectives, as they apply.  

For more general information on this overall subject, see the  Water Quality Background page.

Water Quality for the Russian River Estuary 

Merritt Smith Consulting and SCWA staff measured water quality in the Russian River estuary as part of a five-year study concerning the effects of breaching the spit at the River's mouth.  The work spanned the summer and fall of 1996 to the fall 2000 and is contained within five annual reports:  1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000. From the methods section of these reports:

“Water quality vertical profiles were conducted at each of four stations at the same time biological sampling was conducted.  Portable YSI salinity and dissolved oxygen meters were used to obtain in situ data on temperature, salinity, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen.  The profiles were performed in the deepest part of the channel at each station, to determine whether or not salinity stratification was present".  In addition, continuous recording Hydrolab Datasonds were deployed for several months at different locations during the course of the study.  The Datasonds measured periods both prior to and immediately after breaching events.

Results of this monitoring are charted in KRIS Russian and were summarized in the fifth report as follows:  "It appears that salinity stratification is usually present within the Estuary and that the freshwater lens fluctuates in depth based upon tides, river flows, and bar-open or bar-closed conditions. Minisonde records at Station 3 in 2000 show that near-bottom salinity levels ranged between 28 and 32 ppt in 2000, regardless of whether the sandbar was open or closed. DO levels appear to be more closely connected with bar conditions, usually staying above 5.0 ppm when the bar was open, and dropping below 5.0 ppm when the sandbar is closed. It appears to take more than one tidal cycle for the DO levels at upstream stations (Stations 2, 3, and 4) to recover, as DO levels often remained near-anoxic at deep water locations during the first tidal survey."

After the first four years of monitoring, the researchers concluded that "renewal of DO in the saline near-bottom layers of deep pools is mediated by an interplay between river flow and tidal action (spring/neap cycle) in addition to post-breaching flushing... Therefore, although low DO levels in the near-bottom layers of deep water stations, such as Stations 2, 3, and 4, are often associated with bar-closed conditions, anoxia also develops when the bar is open during neap tides and/or low river flows."

Water quality data were also collected with continuous recorders at four locations in the estuary in 1992-1993 (Heckel et al., 1994) but electronic data were not available for use in KRIS Russian.

For more general information on this overall subject, see the Water Quality Background page.

Santa Rosa Creek Macro-Invertebrate Studies

The City of Santa Rosa has monitored aquatic macro-invertebrates in Santa Rosa Creek as part of their storm water management program since 1998. Creeks studied are Brush, Colgan, Metanzas, Paulin, Piner and Peterson. Identification of insects prior to 2000 was to the family level, but since 2000 the assessments have been based on the state standard recommended by the California Department of Fish and Game and described in the California Stream Bioassessment Procedure (Harrington 1999). The Sustainable Land Stewardship Institute (2003) analyzed samples collected since 2000 and reported on the health of the aquatic community. For more details, see a note on methods of collection and analysis. 

SLSI (2003) concluded that: "Analysis of the benthic macroinvertebrates inhabiting the Santa Rosa watersheds showed that all six sampling stations had uniformly low faunal diversity.  Those organisms present in the streams tended to be tolerant forms, with near complete absence of more sensitive taxa.  Two groups dominated the fauna, chironomid midge larvae (especially orthoclads and tanytarsids) and oligochaete worms (especially naidids and tubificids) accounting for up to 67% and 25% of the entire fauna in 2002.  Simulid blackfly larvae were abundant at a few of the sites accounting for up to 22 % of the entire fauna.  Baetid mayflies were abundant at only the Matanzas and Paulin Creek sites." 

SLSI (2003) also characterized the six watersheds of the streams studied with regard to the extent of development of different types and the extent of remaining open space or undeveloped land. Large areas of paving or otherwise impervious surface in a watershed can lead to deterioration of the aquatic habitat in reaches downstream of development (see Urbanization Background page).

See the Aquatic Insect Background page for more information on this general subject.

Russian River Basin-wide Macroinvertebrate Studies by California Department of Fish and Game

The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) collected benthic macroinvertebrate (BMI) samples from 35 reaches within 21 tributary streams and the mainstem Russian River (see table of sites) during the fall 1995, spring 1996 and spring of 1997.   Sample collection and identification followed the California Stream RAPID Bioassessment Procedure (Harrington, 1999).

This work was used to develop the Russian River Index of Biological Integrity (RRIBI) for First to Third Order Tributary Streams (Harrington, 1999).  This effort to establish criteria for judging the health of streams analyses five indices:  EPT Taxa, Percent Dominant Taxa, Richness, the Simpson Index and the Hilsenhoff Index.  Harrington (1999) used a combination of all five metrics for calculation of a Russian River Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI). The universe of streams sampled were those in sufficiently good health to sustain salmonids, but no undisturbed streams were available to use as scientific controls and in calculation of reference values for judging aquatic health. 

Three aquatic insect samples were collected at each station and values shown in KRIS Russian are averages of the three samples.  The KRIS Russian project shows results in the form of EPT, Richness and Percent Dominance, separately. These measurements are recognized as valuable tools for analysis regionally (Friedrichsen, 1998). 

See the Aquatic Insect Background page for more information.

Study of Road Construction Impacts in Coleman Creek by California Department of Fish and Game

This study was carried out to assess the impact of streamside road construction on salmonid habitat and populations in Coleman Creek. The study examined three components of the stream system: fine sediment, benthic macroinvertebrates, and fish.  Results are described in Coleman Creek Siltation Investigation (CDFG 1982).  CDFG staff personnel sampled gravel using the wet-sieved McNeil method, which separates the particles in the gravel into size-classes.  Gravel was sampled at locations upstream and downstream of the road construction in Coleman Creek.  Benthic invertebrates were sampled on August 5-6, 1982 at locations upstream and downstream of road construction. Sampling was done using Surber sampler with a one square foot opening.  Three replicate samples, collected at each station, were placed in separate labeled containers and preserved with 70% ethanol.  Taxonomic identification was carried out at the California Department of Fish and Game Water Quality Laboratory at Region 3 Headquarters in Yountville.  Benthos were identified using keys presented in Edmondson (1959), Edmunds et al (1976), Merritt and Cummins (1978), Usinger (1956), and Wiggins (1977). 

See the Roads and Erosion and Aquatic Insect Background page for more information.

Stream Temperature Monitoring by California Department of Fish and Game 

As part of their stream habitat surveys, the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) collected stream temperature data for numerous sites in tributaries in the Russian River.  In general, temperature loggers were place in streams during the same summer in which they were habitat-typed.  The 2000 and 2001 CDFG temperature data included in KRIS Russian were contributed to KRIS by Jeff Church, who currently works for Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) and had acquired the data from CDFG while employed at the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.  Jeff Church and CDFG personnel compiled a spreadsheet of sampling locations, which was made into an ArcView shapefile by IFR-KRIS personnel.  Descriptions of monitoring site locations can be viewed as a table.  

Water temperature thresholds that appear on charts in KRIS Russian are extensively discussed in the Temperature Background page.

Stream Temperature Monitoring by Sonoma County  Water Agency

The Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) has an ongoing stream temperature monitoring program in the southern half of the Russian basin, including both mainstem Russian River and tributary sites.  All of SCWA temperature data for the years 1997-2001 are included in KRIS.  Because the only versions of data for some site-years had been converted to daily minimum, average and maximum values, the raw data is not available in KRIS for every site-year.  Descriptions of monitoring site locations can be viewed as a table.  In collaboration with SCWA's Shawn Chase, IFR-KRIS personnel constructed an ArcView shapefile of all SCWA temperature monitoring sites.  

Water temperature thresholds that appear on charts in KRIS Russian are extensively discussed in the Temperature Background page.

Stream Temperature Monitoring by Mendocino County Water Agency 

The Mendocino County Water Agency (MCWA) provided stream temperature data for numerous sites in the Forsythe and Ukiah sub-basins of the Russian River basin for the years 1998 through 2001.  Descriptions of monitoring site locations can be viewed as a table. To learn more about the type of instruments used and the quality assurance measures taken see this note. Temperature sensors were placed in pools at a depth of about in the deepest part a (typically 1.5 - 2.5 feet actual depth) and usually tied to a rock and then covered with rocks.  If this was not possible, probes were tethered to rebar driven into the streambed or placed close to the bank and hidden beneath vegetation to prevent vandalism.  At the time of deployment and retrieval, the stream temperature, air temperature, pool depth and time were measured and recorded.  

Water temperature thresholds that appear on charts in KRIS Russian are extensively discussed in the Temperature Background page.

Stream Temperature Monitoring by Mendocino Redwood Company

The Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) provided water temperature data for their holdings within the Russian River basin for 1994-2001, which includes five sampling stations in the Guerneville sub-basin, three in the Ukiah sub-basin, and one in the Forsythe sub-basin.  Louisiana Pacific Lumber Company data were included for the years 1994-1997, before their acquisition by MRC.  Data were collected using electronic temperature recorders (Stowaway, Onset Instruments) set to continuously monitor water temperature at typically 2 hour intervals.  Monitoring occurred during the summer months when the water temperatures are highest, and recorders were typically placed in shallow pools (<2 ft. in depth) directly downstream of riffles.  Files from earlier years were converted to daily average and maximum values, and did not contain raw data.  MRC also provided an Arc View map coverage of temperature monitoring locations. A table of MRC temperature site locations is available for viewing.  All datasets were included in KRIS Russian, using floating weekly average temperature.  

Water temperature thresholds in KRIS Russian are extensively discussed in the Temperature Background page. 

Methods details:  Data were collected using Onset StowAway® continuous water temperature monitors. Prior to placement in the stream, each temperature monitor was calibrated with a 0ºC ice bath to ensure proper response to temperature. Given the type of water temperature monitors used, it is expected that the error would not exceed 0.23ºC. Monitoring occurred during the summer months when the water temperatures are highest, and recorders were typically placed in shallow pools (<2 ft. in depth) directly downstream of riffles. Data collection intervals varied from 72 to 144 minutes, but the majority of probes were set to collect temperature measurements every 120 minutes. 

Stream Temperature Monitoring Data from Institute for Forest and Watershed Management

The Institute for Forest and Watershed Management at Humboldt State University, formerly known as the Forest Science Project, published an access database of  stream temperature monitoring data for the northern California coast.  The database includes three sites on the mainstem Russian River near Healdsburg, and one on Dry Creek near its confluence with the Russian River.  The data collectors and methods were not identified in the database, but an ArcView shapefile of monitoring locations was obtained from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, and is included in KRIS.  

Water temperature thresholds that appear on charts in KRIS Russian are extensively discussed in the Temperature Background page.

Russian River First Flush Water Quality Data

Well trained community volunteers joined staff from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to monitor constituents in Russian River tributaries during the first storm of  fall 2002.  The type of water quality is called First Flush and provides a unique opportunity to detect what pollutants are present in a watershed due to the transport of material accumulated over the dry season. Water quality data collected include pH, Ammonia and Nitrogen, Phosphorous, conductivity, E. coli, temperature, turbidity and diazinon. While some parameters were measured in the field with equipment on loan from the NCRWQCB and EPA, other data were derived in the lab by staff from those agencies. The first storm event was on November 7, 2002 and results were collected at 21 of 27 locations set up for the exercise (see Table), due to different distribution of rainfall and runoff response. 

This Clean Water Team was part of the larger Citizen Monitoring Program of the State Water Resources Control Board and local coordinator Revital Katznelson provided oversight for the project, helped with data analysis and wrote the Russian River First Flush Summary Report (Katznelson, 2003). Support for this project also came from the Sotoyome Resource Conservation District, UC Cooperative Extension and Sonoma State University.  

For more general information on this overall subject, see the Water Quality Background page.

East Austin Creek Road Erosion Control Project

Pacific Watershed Associates (PWA) and California State Parks jointly sponsored a road decommissioning and upgrading project in the Austin Creek State Recreation Area, which was funded by the California Department of Fish and Game.  This example of good watershed restoration is presented in KRIS Russian as a series of captioned photos that demonstrate the methods applied.

The erosion prevention project was based on a prior assessment of East Austin Creek and nearby Fife Creek in 1999.  "The assessment mapped 118 individual sites, where sediment was or had the risk of being delivered to stream channels, along 7 different road segments totaling nearly 11.1 miles in the East Austin Creek assessment area" (PWA, 1999). 

The East Austin Creek Watershed Erosion Control and Prevention Project Final Report (PWA, 2002), from which photos and information were taken for use in KRIS, describes the project objectives: "The project .. was initially designed to 1) lower the risk of culvert failure/fill erosion and subsequent sediment delivery at 81 stream crossings, 2) prevent fill failure landsliding at seven sites, and 3) improving road bed drainage by disconnecting the road bed from stream crossings or gullies through the construction of rolling dips, berm removal, out-sloping the road, etc. along over 34,000 feet of road, as well as treating 5 separate "other site" locations, mostly gullies, along the roads." 

On the success of the project over-all, PWA (2002) concluded: "The expected benefit of completing erosion control and prevention work lies in the reduction of long term sediment delivery to East Austin Creek, an important steelhead stream. The purpose of this project was to permanently reduce the amount of sediment that could erode and be delivered to East Austin Creek and its tributaries. By storm-proofing or decommissioning 11 miles of former logging/ranch roads in East Austin Creek, an estimated 16,860 cubic yards of sediment was prevented from being delivered to streams within the watershed over the next decade or so" (PWA, 2002). 

For more general information see the Roads and Erosion or Watershed Restoration Background pages. 

California Pesticide Use Reporting Database

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) maintains a statewide database called the California Pesticide Use Reporting Database.  The database includes only agricultural and industrial pesticide application, not residential pesticide use.  When pesticide applicators use registered pesticides, they are required to submit data to county agricultural commissioners, who then submit data to DPR.  The DPR publishes a CD-ROM of the database for each year.  Due to file size and budget limitations, only data for the year 2001 were included in KRIS Russian.  The pesticide database is a relational database composed of many linked tables containing information such as the amount and location of product application.  The DPR publishes a user's guide that contains detailed information on the structure of the original database.  The most important fields were joined into a single database for inclusion in KRIS.  A key to the column headings in the pesticide source table included in KRIS is available here as a table.  The database was joined to a GIS of Public Land Survey sections (roughly one square mile each) to make a GIS layer, which is viewable using the KRIS Map Viewer.  

The impact of pesticides in the Russian River watershed largely unknown.  The DPR database shows that at least 1,463,136 pounds of active ingredient and 1,877,002 pounds of total pesticide product was applied in the Russian watershed in 2001.  The actual annual pesticide use in the watershed is likely at least 2-3 times higher than that due to an accident of history.  The minimum mapping resolution of the DPR database is Public Land Survey Sections (approximately  1 square mile), but no location (beyond county name) is not reported for areas that do not have a Section.  The majority of the prime agricultural lands in the watershed were originally part of the Mexican/Spanish land grants, which do not have Sections, and are therefore pesticides used in such areas cannot be traced to a particular location and and cannot be mapped or included in watershed totals.  Due to the limits of the geographic extent of the database, it is best used to look at the relative quantities of the different pesticides that are applied in the watershed and on which crops they are being applied, rather than to look at the absolute amounts used.  The Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner's office maintains a parcel-level GIS layer that could greatly enhance geographic accuracy and fill the geographic gaps in the Sonoma County portion of the database, but they were unwilling to share it in KRIS. 

In July 2002, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle found that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had violated its obligations under the Endangered Species Act.  The ruling was in response to a lawsuit brought by the Washington Toxics Coalition and other environmental and fishing groups.  The court ordered Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to initiate a review of the effects of 54 pesticide active ingredients on salmon and to consult, with National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).  In July 2003, the court indicated that it would impose interim protection measures while the EPA is conducting its review.  The interim measures will include stream buffer zones, and may include additional restrictions on urban uses of 13 pesticides frequently found in urban streams. See the Water Quality Background page for more information.  

Photographs in KRIS Russian

Photographs allow us to see stream channels, landscapes, events and animals in a way that enables valuable understanding of natural history, habitat conditions and trends.  Historic photographs, in particular, provide insight into eras before scientific data were collected. They also provide a window on the culture and life styles of the region in times past.   

Historic Photos:  KRIS Russian contains historical photographs from the Mendocino Historical Society, the Sonoma County Historical Museum, the Army Corp of Engineers, the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) and other sources. The Institute for Fisheries Resources KRIS team visited CDFG Central Coast Region (formerly Region 3) and copied some historical photos from their files. Yountville is the official archives for the DFG region, and houses historical data and photographs, organized by county and by stream. CDFG historical photos may have also been on file at other locations, such as the E-Center in Ukiah.

E-Center: The Mendocino Fisheries Program provided access to their archives documenting stream enhancement efforts.  The program operates under the guidance of the Center for Education, Environment, and Employment (E Center) a non-profit organization in Ukiah, California.  The program focuses on watershed health, training, and employment of displaced commercial fishermen and timber workers, the education of local youth in watershed principals, and has participated in numerous fishery restoration and community education projects in several watersheds throughout Mendocino County for the past 16 years.  

Restoration Photos: Photos and descriptions of additional restoration projects were generously contributed by Evan Engber (Bioengineering Associates), the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA), Brendan O'Neil of California State Parks, and the Mendocino Resource Conservation District. 

Sonoma County Water Agency: SCWA sponsored the KRIS Russian River database project and generously provided photos of their staff at work, facilities, projects, monitoring photo points from the field, aerial photo sequences and fish species. 

Mendocino County Historical Museum: The County of Mendocino operates a historical museum just east of Highway 101 on East Commercial Street in Willits California. Staff there worked with the KRIS team to capture photos of the Russian River basin of historical interest. This included flood photos, pictures of fish and fishing and historical shots of the building of Scott Dam and Lake Pilsbury ant the construction of the Masonite Road. Permission for use of these photos in KRIS was permitted but further use by others requires the permission of the Mendocino County Historical Museum.

Miscellaneous: Phillip Williams and Associates Ltd. provided aerial photos of the lower Russian River during floods and historical aerials. The Community Clean Water Institute provided monitoring data and pictures of volunteers at work. Martin Griffin provided photos of gravel mining and floods with annotation.  

IFR Field Photos: Some photos in KRIS Russian were taken by members of the Institute for Fisheries Resources (IFR) KRIS staff. These show streams at various flows and locations, watershed conditions, vegetation and land use and are useful for understanding the health of the Russian River aquatic ecosystem. Photos are copyright free but credit to the KRIS project is requested, if they are used in reports, posters, slide presentations or other applications. Photographers included Patrick Higgins, Gary Reedy and Eli Asarian.

Vegetation and Timber Types of Cal Water Watersheds

The vegetation and timber size classes used in the KRIS Russian River project were derived from Landsat multi-spectral images taken in 1999.  The U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region Remote Sensing Lab, in cooperation with the California Department of Forestry, analyzed the Landsat images to formulate a California wide electronic map layer of vegetation as part of the Northwest Forest Plan (Warbington et al., 1998).  See Vegetation Types Background page for more information.  

Stand conditions are represented with approximately 75% accuracy on a one-hectare scale by the USFS vegetation data. Data is quarried for tree size or community type in ArcView (KRIS Russian River Maps). This allows quantitative assessment of vegetation types for seral stage based on tree size for geographic areas such as Calwater planning watersheds in the KRIS database. The KRIS vegetation classification scheme can also be used for a quick analysis of riparian conditions.  Ninety meter (297 ft.) zones of riparian influence are assigned to the 1:24000 stream layer in Arc View and only the vegetation within this zone is displayed and analyzed. CDF FRAP change scene detection (Fisher, 2001) using 1994 and 1998 Landsat imagery allows assessment of the rapidity of recent landscape alteration.  Change scene detection themes are available in the KRIS Russian Maps ArcView project and in the KRIS Russian database via the KRIS Map Viewer.  

For use in KRIS, vegetation and timber types were simplified into eight classifications. Vegetation is classified according to diameter at breast height (DBH):

Size Class/Vegetation Type Diameter/Description
Giant > 50 inches in diameter
Very Large 40-50 inches in diameter
Large 30-39.9 inches in diameter
Medium/Large 20-29.9 inches in diameter
Small/Medium 12.19.9 inches in diameter
Small 5-11.9 inches in diameter
Saplings < 5 inches in diameter
Non-Forest No trees, grass, shrubs, agricultural land use, bare soil, rock

This simple classification provides an easy to understand index of watershed disturbance for use in coastal watersheds.  Large components of early seral stage conditions (Saplings, Non-Forest) are often associated with recent logging disturbance.  The vegetation patterns in interior basins, such as the Russian River, are much more complicated than in coastal ecosystems and more difficult to use to analyze changes in vegetation brought about by watershed management activities. Not all watersheds within the KRIS Russian River project area are forested; consequently, only those Calwaters with some portion of the landscape in forest are characterized using these data.  

EPA Landcover

The 1992 Land Cover data from the U.S. Environmental Protection agency was derived in cooperation with the U.S. Geologic Survey to produce a consistent, land cover data layer for the conterminous United States. The pixel resolution of the Landsat thematic mapper (TM) data is 30 meters. The coverage is useful in determining land use and landscape condition. One focus of this project is urbanizing or industrial areas because those types of land use have the greatest impacts on nearby streams. Classifications from EPA have been condensed to 14 categories from 20 by the IFR KRIS project to make for easier use in analysis. Both classifications are available in the KRIS Russian Map project so they can be compared. Crop types in the irrigated areas were difficult to reliably distinguish; consequently, row crops are likely to be under represented. Since the image is now ten years old, the landscape may have changed considerable in the intervening years in some locations. 

Road Densities in KRIS Russian River

Roads are a major source of sediment to streams.  Surface erosion from roads can produce chronic sources of fine sediment, which can diminish salmon and steelhead spawning success (Cedarholm et al., 1980).  Failure of roads during major storm events can lead to large landslides which can overwhelm streams with sediment, thus filling pools and diminishing habitat diversity.  Road densities in KRIS Russian were calculated using queries in Arc Info on road data from the U.S. Geologic Survey's 1:24000 maps.  Road data may not be accurate or up-to-date in areas not undergoing timber harvest because USGS only updates 1:24000 topographic maps every few decades.  KRIS Russian charts show thresholds for roads of three miles per square miles based on National Marine Fisheries Service guidelines (NMFS, 1996). Road stream crossings were also calculated using queries in Arc Info on road data from the U.S. Geologic Survey's 1:24000 maps and are shown in KRIS as the number of crossings per mile of stream.  Improperly designed stream crossings can act as migration barriers to salmonids and be major sources of erosion.  

See Road and Erosion page in the Background pages for more information.

Upper Russian River Gravel and Erosion Study (Mendocino County)

Data on gravel supply and transport in KRIS Russian for Mendocino County come from the Upper Russian River Gravel and Erosion Study (Philip Williams & Associates, 1997). This study established the methodology and data collection protocols for monitoring of the impacts of aggregate extraction on the upper Russian River. Additional data about Mendocino County aggregate production came from the US Bureau of Mines. Data types include: cross sections and longitudinal profiles, Wolman pebble counts, suspended sediment, turbidity, and stage-discharge measurements.

The Upper Russian River Aggregate Resources Management Plan (Phillip Williams Assoc. et al., 1997) provides a synthesis of information including methods associated with channel surveys and bedload estimation.  .Stream channel transects were surveyed to monitor trends in cross-section area and thalweg elevations. Turbidity and suspended sediment as well as discharge/suspended sediment rating curves were developed for Forsythe Creek and data used for modeling other basins. Suspended sediment rates for the Russian River at Ukiah were scaled by basin area and used to estimate suspended sediment rates of tributary streams (Ritter and Brown, 1971). Gravel replenishment rates were assumed 25-percent of the suspended sediment yields. Bedload sediment yields were derived from regional suspended sediment and bedload data assuming suspended sediment yields were directly proportional to drainage area and not effected by gravel mining. Wolman (1954) pebble counts were completed to determine the size and frequency of the streambed material and changes over time. Gravel extraction volumes were estimated from use permits filed with the Mendocino County Planning Department and from Department of Fish and Game 1603 Agreements. 

See the Channel Morphology and Stream Processes Background page for more information on the effects of gravel mining.  For information on how sediment effects fish and the measuring of sediment, see the Sediment Background page.

Gravel and Geomorphic Data from the Sonoma County Aggregate Resources Management Plan

Data in KRIS Russian on gravel extraction within Sonoma County come from the Sonoma County Aggregate Resources Management (ARM) Plan and Final Environmental Impact Report (Sonoma County Planning Department, 1994). The basic goal of the 1994 ARM Plan with respect to gravel extraction is to balance annual extraction amounts with the gravel replenishment rates of the river to minimize the possibilities of environmental impacts. The plan established policies and standards for the management of the County's aggregate resources and assessed environmental impacts of current and historical aggregate production for areas within Sonoma County including: alluvial valleys of Dry Creek, the Russian River between Wohler Bridge and Cloverdale, and existing hard rock quarry locations. This report was preceded by the Aggregate Resources Management Plan Environmental Impact Report (Sonoma County Planning Dept., 1981), and draws, to some degree, on analyses and data available in Hydrologic Impacts of Gravel Mining on the Russian River (Simons and Li, 1991).  While neither ARM could not be made available in electronic form, the component Technical Report on Fisheries in the Russian River (Hopkirk and Northen 1980) is available.  

Geomorphologic and hydrologic data in the 1994 ARM Plan are primarily based on two studies: Sonoma County Planning Department Hydrologic Aspects Aggregate Resource Management Plan Update and EIR (Philip Williams Assoc., 1992) and Hydrologic and Geomorphic Impact Analysis of the Proposed Reclamation Plans at Syar Industries Properties in the Russian River Near Healdsburg, Sonoma County, California (Mitchell Swanson Associates, 1992). Available aerial photographs and cross-section data were utilized to investigate long-term trends and changes in the rivers morphology, such as, migration of bed features, alterations to the riparian corridor, and aggradation or degradation trends. Cross-section and longitudinal thalweg surveys from as early as 1940 were available from the US Army Corps of Engineers. Other cross-section data was collected by the Sonoma County Water Agency since 1981 to monitor the channels response to flood response and mining activates.   

Sediment budgets estimate the change in volume of sediment stored within a stream channel reach by calculating the difference between the inflow and outflow of sediments. Sediment inflow or the gravel replenishment rate was estimated from bedload transport rates from the upstream reach of the Russian River and from tributaries. Sediment outflow rates were estimated from the volumes of sand and gravel extraction from the reach by gravel mining between 1982 and 1991 and from the rate at which bedload is being transported out of the reach. Bedload transport rates were computed from a regional bedload transport equation and were not directly measured. The regional bedload equation assumed that the bedload is a percent of the suspended load of the stream. Suspended sediment data used in the calculations were collected by the US Geological Survey (Ritter and Brown, 1971).

Data after 1990 for Alexander Valley comes from a report entitled Assessment of Channel Morphology and Gravel Extraction in Alexander Valley and Vicinity, Russian River, CA (Northwest Hydraulic Consultants, Inc., 1996). Their study investigates patterns of aggradation and degradation on a year by year basis by relating annual runoff, annual bedload transport volumes, and annual gravel extraction volumes. Northwest Hydraulic Consultants recommended that better guidelines should be established to improve reliability of cross-section and sediment transport data collection and monitoring that would further the adaptive management process of the ARM Plan.

For more information on how sediment effects fish see the Sediment Background page.  For more on methodology, be sure to see Measuring Sediment in Streams.

Dry Creek Stream Morphology from CSU (1850-1984)

Dry Creek stream channel morphology data in KRIS Russian comes from a study completed by Michael Harvey and Stanley Schumm of Colorado State University: Geomorphic analysis of Dry Creek, Sonoma County, California from Warm Springs Dam to Russian River confluence (1985).  The study investigated the geomorphologic response of Dry Creek to land use changes over the period of 1850 to 1984 and included the 22 km reach of Dry Creek below Warm Springs Dam.  Historical trends in channel geometry, cross-sectional and thalweg profiles were related to major land use events in the Dry Creek and Russian River basins, which included: wildfires, logging, gravel mining, dam closure and erosion control measures.  The study was funded by the US Army Corps of Engineers.

Mendocino Redwood Company Stream and Watershed Assessment Data

The Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) completed a watershed analysis (WA) on their properties in Willow Creek, Freezeout Creek, and Dutch Bill Creek watersheds known as the Willow/Freezeout Creeks Watershed Analysis (MRC 2003).  The Willow/Freezeout Creeks WA consists of multiple modules including: mass wasting, surface and fluvial erosion, hydrology, riparian function, stream channel condition and fish habitat assessment. MRC utilized watershed analysis modified methodology adapted from procedures outlined in the Standard Methodology for Conducting Watershed Analysis Manual (Version 3.0, Washington Forest Practices Board).  Data from these assessments were provided by MRC for use in the KRIS Russian River database. 

Bulk Gravel Sampling:  Dry-Sieved McNeil Samples: Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) studied bed substrate conditions using bulk gravel samples (McNeil and Ahnell, 1964) for a long-term stream segment monitoring site in Willow Creek.  This stream segment was also subject to gravel permeability sampling, four cross sectional surveys, and a thalweg longitudinal profile.  A stream segment was delineated by 20-30 bankfull channel widths in length.  Substrate samples were taken from four randomly selected pool tail-outs in the segment from all pool tail-outs suitable for spawning (i.e., not dominated by bedrock or covered in substrate too large for a fish to make a redd).  

MRC dried their gravel samples before passing through 7 different size-class screens (45, 22.4, 11.2, 5.6, 4, 2, 0.85) and then weighed each fraction to produce gravimetric results.  This dry-sieve/gravimetric method produces different results than the wet-sieve/volumetric methods which are usually referenced in TMDL studies and originally proposed by McNeil and Ahnell (1964).  While the dry-sieve/gravimetric method produces results not biased by the retention of different proportions of water by size class (water is increasingly retained with finer fractions of a bulk sample),  results from the method are not directly compatible with TMDL references and other syntheses of wet-sieve based studies. The U.S. EPA and California State Water Resources Control Board do not necessarily endorse the conversions used in KRIS. KRIS Russian River uses reference values for percent fine sediment from dry-sieve sampling that utilize a conservative adjustment to be more compatible with wet-sieve/volumetric results.  The TMDL target of no more than 14% fine sediment less than 0.85 mm (US EPA, 1996) was used as a reference for MRC Willow Creek data. According to Shirazi and Seim (1979), the fraction of fines less than 0.85 mm from wet/volumetric methods can be adjusted by a factor of 0.739 to reflect actual gravimetric results.  Applied to 14%, this correction yields a dry- sieve reference for fine sediment less than 0.85 mm of 10.3%.  McHenry et al. (1992) found an even higher conversion factor for wet to dry sieve comparison. For the fraction of fines less than 6.4 mm from wet/volumetric methods, Shirazi and Seim report a correction factor of 0.866.  Applied to the TMDL target of 30%, this correction yields a dry- sieve reference for fine sediment less than 6.4 mm of 26%. MRC did not use a 6.4 mm sieve, but their results for fine sediment <5.6 mm are charted in comparison to this reference value and represent a conservative view of percent fine sediment <6.4 mm.

Gravel Permeability: Gravel permeabilities in the Willow Creek long-term monitoring stream segment were measured by Mendocino Redwood Company following the methods of Barnard and McBain (1994). A stand-pipe was driven into the streambed to a depth of 25 centimeters and vacuumed by an electric pump. The units of measurement for gravel permeability are cm/hr and describe interstitial flow rate.  At each measurement location, repetitive measurements were taken until the permeability readings ceased to increase.  The results reported here may vary slightly from those published by MRC due to the different treatment of summary statistics.  The stream segment studied had between seven pool tails or “tail-outs” sampled with between two and eight grid locations in each tail-out.  A grid location consisted of an evenly spaced 12-point grid with between four and ten separate randomly selected measurement points.  The median permeability measurement from each grid location was used as independent data points in this analysis.  The summary statistics presented in KRIS were derived from taking the median permeability measurement from each grid point and then averaging all grid points for each tail-out. The natural log of permeability derived by Tagart (1976) and McCuddin (1977) equates the permeability data to fry survival (Survival = -0.82530 + 0.14882 * ln[permeability])  The survival relationship is an index of spawning gravel quality and is currently one of the few approaches that quantitatively links a biological relationship to permeability data.

For more information on how sediment effects fish see the Sediment Background page. 

Channel Geometry: To monitor stream channel morphology conditions and stream sediment characteristics related to fish habitat, a long-term stream channel monitoring segment was established in Willow Creek.  The stream monitoring segment is within 20-30 bankfull channel widths in length.  This long-term segment will be re-surveyed and monitored over time to provide insight into long term trends in channel morphology, sediment transport and fish habitat conditions.  The thalweg profile and cross-section surveys on Willow Creek started approximately 600 below the confluence with the North Fork Willow Creek and continued past the confluence approximately 130 feet.  Permanent bench marks were placed at the upstream and downstream ends of the monitoring segment and were marked with nails in the base of large trees along with a re-bar pin in the ground adjacent to the nail.  The thalweg profile is a survey of the deepest point of the flowing channel, excluding any detached or “dead end” scours and/or side channels.  At every visually apparent change in thalweg location or depth, the distance along the channel is measured and the elevation is recorded.  In the absence of visually apparent changes, thalweg measurements are taken every 15-20 feet along the channel.  Along the thalweg profile, four channel cross-sections were surveyed (locations were permanently monumented).  The cross sections were located along relatively straight reaches in the monitoring segment.  Cross sections are surveyed from above the flood-prone depth of the channel.  At each cross section a pebble count was done, to determine the D50 of the cross section, by measuring 100 randomly selected pebbles along the cross section fall line.  

Habitat: LWD and Channel Morphology: Mendocino Redwood Company performed large wood surveys of their own design in 2000.  The surveys covered eight segments from Willow and Freezeout creeks.  The segments measured 20-30 bankfull channel widths in length, and thus ranged from 60-300 meters.  All wood within the bankfull channel was counted and measured if deemed to provide some habitat or morphologic function in the stream channel (i.e. pool formation, scour, debris dam, bank stabilization, or gravel storage).  Wood pieces greater than 12 inches in diameter and 20 feet long were recorded as key pieces if bankfull channel width was less than 20 feet.  In wider stream segments, a larger minimum size was used to classify key pieces.  Debris accumulations (3-10 pieces) and debris jams (>10 pieces) were counted and measured separately. Pool characteristics were also determined for each stream segment.  The number, types, spacing, and residual mean depths of all pools were measured.  Pool spacing and residual mean pool depths are both charted in KRIS and can be a useful indicators of fish habitat condition because coho salmon and 1+ steelhead require pool habitat for successful rearing.  The deeper the pools the better and thus residual pool depth is a useful measurement of habitat quality.

For information on the role of LWD as fish habitat, see the Big Wood Background page.

Mass Wasting, Surface, and Fluvial Erosion: The mass wasting assessment relied on an inventory of mass wasting features collected through the review of aerial photographs and field observations.  Terminology used to describe landslides closely followed the definitions of Cruden and Varnes (1996).  Landslide mapping utilized four sets of aerial photographs: 2000, 1996, and 1990/1987 at a scale of 1:12,000 and 1978 at a scale of 1:15,840.  Physical and geomorphic characteristics each landslide was categorized in a database including: identification number, planning watershed, type of landslide, approximate failure date, slope gradient, length, width, depth, volume, sediment delivery, sediment routing, and associated land use.  Field reconnaissance was used to verify a subset of the identified landslides.  Landslide volumes were converted to volumes assuming a uniform bulk density of 1.35 g/cc.  To determine sediment input rates, mass wasting was separated into three time-periods (1969-1978,1979-1987, and 1988-2000) based on the date of aerial photos.  For more information on mass wasting see the Slope Stability Background page.

The surface and fluvial erosion module examined past and present soil erosion from roads and skid trails of the Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) ownership in the Willow/Freezeout Creeks watersheds.  The road erosion estimates utilized a combination of field observations and the use of the surface erosion model presented in the Standard Methodology for Conducting Watershed Analysis (Version 3.0, Washington Forest Practices).  The road data that were the basis for most of the analysis was collected by MRC during a 100% road inventory of the Willow/Freezeout Creeks WAU in 2000. 

Sediment delivery estimates from surface and fluvial erosion from skid trails were determined from aerial photograph interpretation and sediment delivery estimates developed in previous MRC watershed assessments (MRC, 1998 and MRC, 2000).  Aerial photographs from 1961, 1971, 1978, 1980, 1996 and 2000 were used to identify skid trail activity (high, moderate, or low).  High skid trail density was estimated to contribute 300 tons/square mile/year of sediment, moderate skid trail density was estimated to contribute 200 tons/square mile/year of sediment, while low skid trail density contributes 50 tons/square mile/year. 

Fluvial and surface erosion rate estimates from gullies relied on an analysis by Trihey and Associates (1997).  Gully erosion was found to be most prevalent in Willow Creek and Trihey and Associates suggested both forested and grassland gully erosion have had accelerated erosion since the tractor logging in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Trihey and Associates conclude that creation of the forested gullies in Willow Creek resulted from the clearing of streamside trees in the 1950’s and 1960’s that would have been recruited to the stream channel. 

For more information on how roads and skid trails effect fish and streams see the Roads & Erosion Background page.


Note about documents in KRIS