Group of baby coho salmon

Watershed Word Search

river picture showing drought

Take the Russian River Watershed’s Temperature Day!

We all love our amazing 1,485 square mile watershed, its hundreds of miles of river and creeks sustaining our diverse ways of life.

We also know our watershed may be feeling a little “under the weather”. So, like any concerned caregiver, we’d like to take its temperature.

And we need your help! 

We’d like everyone who can find a way to measure temperature in the waterways, to record what you see.

The Russian River Watershed Association will compile all the information, make a map of all the readings, and post on our website and social media.

This may be the first time a watershed-wide temperature is taken, and we hope it’s not the last.  Our watershed needs us to take care of it, so please help us do just that by joining our team!

How to Participate:

  1. Visit your favorite local waterway within the Russian River watershed. If you need ideas, here are some events happening for Creek Week (September 15-22).
  2. Bring your submersible thermometer ( bulb, minimum-maximum, or thermistor -Thermometers for pools or aquariums work best) to the waterway or cleanup of your choice.
  3. Measure the waterway’s temperature! New to using your thermometer? Here are some tips and tricks on using your bulb, minimum-maximum, or thermistor thermometer.
  4. Collect the following information and enter it here or email it to
    • River/Creek Name
    • Description of location (specific landmarks, signs, crossroads, bridges, parks, trails, etc.)
    • Image of your location (GPS screenshots, selfies, landmark pictures etc.)
    • Estimated distance from measure point to bank of river/creek (in feet)
    • Temperature Measurement (in °F)
    • Date of measurement
    • Time of measurement
    • Instrument used
      • Bulb Thermometer
      • Minimum-Maximum Thermometer
      • Thermistor Thermometer
      • Other
    • Notes/Comments
  5. Share photos of your participation with us on Facebook and Instagram by using #RRTEMP2018
  6. Follow the Russian River Watershed Association on Instagram and Facebook! The Russian River Watershed Association will compile all the information, make a map of all the readings, and post on our website and social media.

That’s it! Thank you for participating.

To our knowledge, this is a never been done before effort for the Russian River watershed. We would love to receive your feedback. If you have any comments or questions about your experience or have ideas on how we can enhance this event in the future, please email us at


Let’s Celebrate Earth Day!

Earth Day is coming upon us! Do you know what that means? April 22nd marks the day we get to focus on the environment, learn more about conservation, be out in nature, and promote a healthy, sustainable environment.

What is Earth Day?
Earth Day started on April 22, 1970 when a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin and Earth Day founder, Gaylord Nelson witnessed devastation caused by the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Senator Nelson and his co-chair, Congressman Pete McCloskey recruited Denis Hayes from Harvard to coordinate a national staff of 85 who promoted events across the United States. On the first Earth Day, 20 million Americans rallied together to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment and protect against the deterioration of the environment. This became the start of the environmental movement and led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

In 1990, Denis Hayes organized an Earth Day that went global with 200 million people in 141 countries taking part and addressing environmental issues.

Earth Day is now a celebration of the environment and an opportunity to raise awareness on conservation and sustainability on all forefronts of environmental topics such as water, energy, air, and wildlife. This year’s Earth Day theme is plastic pollution.

Earth Day 2018 Campaign – A World Without Plastic Pollution
We all know plastics have been a blessing and a curse. They are durable, low cost, and easily shaped. They show up consistently in our daily lives and can range from, a candy wrapper to a computer monitor. Plastics are all around us. But with its permanent characteristic, single-use plastics have become increasingly on the spotlight for being litter on our beaches, creeks, streams, landfills, and landscapes. Single-use plastics that we use in our daily lives such as plastic cups and bottles, bags, and straws have become some of the biggest polluters and have been found to injure and poison marine life.

Although plastics seem like a mammoth polluter, there are things you can do in your daily life and on Earth Day to decrease single-use plastic pollution! Here are some tips!

• Skip the Straw — National Skip the Straw Day was February 23 but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to take part! 500 million straws are used and discarded every day which add up to 175 BILLION straws per year in the United States alone. Say no to plastic straws at restaurants or bring your own reusable straws.
• Say no to disposable plastic cutlery — Again, these will last much longer than your take out dinner.
• Bring your Own Cup — Do you love your local coffee house and your morning coffee or frappe? Buy one of their reusables thermoses or bottles. Those plastic lids and cups will last much longer than your day use.
• Save money and carry a reusable water bottle — Check out our May 2017 Environmental Blog post for more information:
• Buy local — When buying local, less packaging is used to get your goods to you!
• Carry your own shopping bag — Whether you are in the grocery store or the mall, use your own shopping bag to cut down on your waste.
• Participate in a clean-up — There are many beach, creek, and park clean-ups that occur every week, month, and year.
• Recycle when you can — Waste management agencies are increasing the types of trash that can be recycled. Check with your local agency to see what you can recycle:

Mendocino County –
Sonoma County –

Take Part!
This year there are many events occurring in Sonoma and Mendocino County. Search below to find events in your community.

Volunteer for Earth Day – Sonoma Creek (April 21) –

Volunteer on Earth Day at Riverfront (April 22) –

Volunteer on Earth Day at Maxwell Farms (April 22) –

Earth Day Bike Path Cleanup (April 22) with Sonoma County Regional Parks and Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition –

Noyo Food Forest — April 21, 2018 from 12pm – 5pm in Fort Bragg: A benefit for the learning garden at Fort Bragg High School Campus

Earth Day on Stage — April 21, 2018 from 12pm – 4pm in Santa Rosa: FREE family-friendly event with live performances, local and earth friendly products, and eco-friendly crafts and activities for kids!

Windsor Earth Day and Wellness Festival — April 22, 2018 from 10am – 1pm in Windsor: Bike to the Town Green for live music, wellness and environmentally-focused booths, famer’s market, children crafts, and more!

This article was authored by Christina Leung, RRWA Staff. RRWA ( is an association of local public agencies in the Russian River Watershed that have come together to coordinate regional programs for clean water, habitat restoration, and watershed enhancement.
Russian River near healdsburg bridge

Love it and Leave it Clean: Responsible Russian River Recreation

It is the peak of summer and the Russian River is teeming with people enjoying the weather and the water. There are swimmers and boaters, fishers and party goers. Whether you are enjoying the sunrise alone with a fishing pole or out with your family or friends at a BBQ picnic, being responsible on the river will protect the river’s water quality, human health, and the wildlife that calls it home.

Pick up your Trash

We keep saying it, and it is still true. Every year, tons of garbage are pulled out of the Russian River by volunteers and clean-up crews. That’s thousands of pounds![1] Garbage is ugly. Trash can also harm wildlife. As trash is generated, gather it and toss it in a trash bin. If there isn’t a nearby trash can, bag your trash and carry it out with you to dispose at home.

Remember, cigarettes are litter too! There are thousands of cigarette butts littered each year. Cigarette butts are a problem because they leach toxic chemicals as they degrade in the environment and because wildlife mistakes them for food. Don’t flick your cigarette butts into the water or onto the beach. Put out the flame and dump your butts with the rest of your trash.

Responsible Fishing

Your fishing line and hooks are tools when you use them, but can become a dangerous tangle if you leave them by the river. Fishing line and hooks can be lethal to small animals and can cause injury to people who come across them swimming or wading. Gather your line and hooks and reuse them if you can, or discard them with your trash if you can’t.

When Nature Calls

It happens. You are on the beach or in the river and you have to use the bathroom – and it’s number two. Even if it means a walk up the beach or back to the parking lot, use a bathroom or pit toilet. If you must answer nature’s call without facilities use a shovel to dig a hole at least 200 feet from the river’s edge, relieve yourself into the hole and cover it up when you are done. Be sure to bury used toilet paper too.

Never, ever defecate in the river. And do not throw dirty diapers into the river or leave them on the shore. Human waste has bacteria in it that can be harmful to the health of others that come into contact with it. True, the river flows with a large volume of water in the winter, but thousands of people recreate in the Russian River on summer days. Occasionally, there are sections of river that have bacteria at levels higher than is safe to come into contact with it. [2]

Dog poop is a health hazard too. If you bring your dog with you to the river, be sure to bag the dog poop and dispose of it in a trash can.

If you would like to volunteer with clean-ups along the river contact the Russian River Watershed Cleanup at or Russian River Keepers at to sign up for a clean-up event.

This article was authored by Cristina Goulart of the Town of Windsor, on behalf of RRWA.  RRWA ( is an association of local public agencies in the Russian River Watershed that have come together to coordinate regional programs for clean water, habitat restoration, and watershed enhancement.

[1] Russian River Watershed Cleanup up website – 2013 data.

[2] NCRWQCB Russian River pathogen Indicator Bacteria TMDL fact sheet. January 2015.


UPDATE August 4, 2016: Low-level blue-green algae toxins were present in certain areas of the river.  There are no restrictions on human recreational use of the Russian River. However, the public should be advised that potentially harmful algae may be present. Keep your family and pets safe by taking precautions posted by Sonoma County Dept. of Health Services. For more information regarding the status of the Russian River, call the beach hotline at (707) 565-6552.