Russian River Inflatable Rubber Dam Going Up - Anglers, Boaters Must Portage Around Dam

Published on May 21, 2018 at 10:34a.m.

For Immediate Release - May 21, 2018

CONTACT: Barry Dugan - 707.547-1930 (office), 707.331.2040 (cell), or Brad Sherwood - 707.547.1927 (office), 707.322.8192 (cell),

(Forestville, CA)  The Sonoma County Water Agency (Water Agency) began inflating its rubber dam on the Russian River near Forestville on Monday, May 21. The rubber dam is a critical component of the Russian River water supply system that provides naturally filtered drinking water to more than 600,000 residents in portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. The rubber dam will remain inflated through summer and into the fall.

The rubber dam is typically inflated in late spring when demand for potable water increases. When fully inflated, the rubber dam creates a small pool of water from which the Water Agency draws water for use in four off-stream infiltration ponds. The infiltration ponds help recharge groundwater which is then naturally filtered through sand and gravel and delivered to the Water Agency’s customers.

Boaters must portage around the rubber dam, located downstream of Wohler Bridge. Public notices will be posted around the rubber dam warning the public not to recreate on or near the dam. California Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations prohibit fishing within 250 feet of the upstream and downstream sides of the rubber dam.

The Russian River Biological Opinion, issued in 2008 by National Marine Fisheries Service, found that fish screens at the Water Agency’s River Diversion Structure could harm small fish, including young endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead. In order to comply with the Biological Opinion and continue operating its system, the Water Agency in 2016 installed a new, improved fish screen. In conjunction with the installation of the fish screen, the Water Agency also constructed an improved fish ladder and viewing gallery. The new fish ladder creates better conditions for adult and juvenile salmon moving up or downstream, and allows more native species to use the ladder for migration.

For more information about the rubber dam and how the Water Agency delivers naturally filtered Russian River water to its customers, please visit


The Sonoma County Water Agency is working to secure our future by investing in our water resources, community and environment.  The Water Agency provides water supply, flood protection and sanitation services for portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. Visit us on the Web at

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