Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Water to Watch" Project in Sonoma County, CA Highlighted in National Fish Habitat Partnership Video Series

The National Fish Habitat Partnership released a second video today in a series highlighting the work of its 19 Partnerships across the country. This spotlights restoration efforts on Grape Creek, a tributary of the Russian River in Sonoma County, CA through the California Fish Passage Forum. Grape Creek was named a National Fish Habitat Partnership “Water to Watch” in 2013 because of the importance of its natural habitat and fish species, which include steelhead trout and coho salmon.

The partners working to improve Grape Creek habitat hail from diverse backgrounds -- vineyards, landowners, water agencies, conservation groups and even school groups, along with federal and state agencies active in conserving the watershed.  The focus of the project is to increase dry season stream flow by either reducing or shifting the demand for water resources from May through October.

This video highlights challenges in managing the dry season, when water needs are highest for residential, industrial and agricultural uses. The low stream flow makes it impossible for north coast salmon to make their runs, an issue highlighted in the national media in 2014. The National Fish Habitat Partnership assisted partners in learning about existing water need and demand, stream flow, the relationship between flow and salmon habitat, as well as the variety of resources available to them.

The Grape Creek project is an important part of the broader conservation work happening in the Russian River Watershed.  Approximately 98% of the land in Sonoma County is privately owned and this project is establishing a precedent of using unique landowner partnerships, gained through door-to-door relationship building and partnering.

With just a $100,000 contribution from the California Fish Passage Forum and $50,000 from other partners, the Upper Grape Creek Project is having a major impact on sustaining both water resources and precious salmon populations.  The project is also providing economic value through added jobs and increases in sales and income at a level of more than double the investment.

The first National Fish Habitat Partnership video featured the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture project Aaron Run in Western Maryland, which was released in November 2013.  The National Fish Habitat Partnership is planning to continue this video series in 2014 and beyond.

To watch the video go to or access it directly at

The Grape Creek project video is also available on the Partnership's You Tube channel at

About the National Fish Habitat Partnership:
The National Fish Habitat Partnership works to conserve fish habitat nationwide, leveraging federal, state, and private funding sources to achieve the greatest impact on fish populations through priority conservation projects. The national partnership implements the National Fish Habitat Action Plan and supports 19 regional grassroots partner organizations.