Because there is still space there is a good future for the Laguna, if we restore it.
We had the great pleasure of having Brian Cluer speak during the Winter Solstice Sunrise Walks. Brian is a fluvial geomorphologist NOAA Fisheries He gave his talk in the down pouring rain, about the past, present and future of the Laguna de Santa Rosa. His specialty is in salmon restoration.
In the past, the Laguna was the lungs and the heart of the Russian River Watershed.
Pomo and Coastal Miwok resided in the Laguna wetlands. They were good stewards of the land. The Laguna supported salmon, elk, bear, antelope and vast flocks of migrating water fowl, and an abundant fishery.
The commercial hunters were the first to exploit this area. They sold their catch for gold to feed San Francisco during the Gold Rush era. There was no limit on what they could catch. It wasn’t until 1895 that they experienced first restrictions on taking wild game.
Presently, the Laguna, a 16-mile waterway from the Russian River to Cotati, is one of very few functional wetlands in the Western United States.
This wetland Lagoon, several thousand acres in winter and hundreds of acres in the summer, provided a cold water fishery for millennia. The day we walked, the Laguna had 5,000 flooded acres, and the salmon were swimming in the cold water floods.
Local bridges constrict the flow of sediments, nutrients, and water, adversely affecting the Laguna. In modern times, each tributary stream has been channelized and disconnect from this flood plain, causing a tremendous buildup of sediment.
This Laguna has a future because it has space.
I hope you have enjoyed these reflections from Brian Cluer on the Laguna de Santa Rosa. One of the Sunrise walkers said, “walking in down pouring rain woke up her inner child”. She said that with a great smile. For those who came, I think this was the common feeling.
Looking forward to seeing you on our next Sunrise Walks.