Recommended Actions

These recommendations have been synthesized from numerous meetings and discussions with SCWCP partners, watershed residents, local utilities, and many others during this initial planning process.

Continue Collaborative SCWCP Efforts

  1. Partnerships: Hold professionally-facilitated quarterly planning meetings with existing and potential SCWCP partners. Objectives for these meetings include:
    • Adopting an updated SCWCP name that is agreeable to all SCWCP partners and reflects more accurately the SCWCP goals of developing alternative water supply solutions that support human needs while protecting and restoring instreamflows for fish and wildlife.
    • Developing products, including educational materials, that makes the SCWCP partners and projects easily recognizable to watershed residents and funding organizations.
    • Identifying additional partners, including local utilities, state and federal agencies, and non-profits;
    • Building agreement about optimal communication methods between partners;
    • Cooperative scheduling of community education and outreach through development of a web-based “watershed calendar;”ncreasing understanding of the unique role each partner plays in restoring streamflows in the watershed; and
    • Identifying collaborative funding opportunities, as well as methods for supporting each organization’s individual fundraising efforts.
  2. Incentives: With SCWCP existing and potential partners, develop watershed-wide incentive programs for implementing water conservation measures, including:
    • Limiting the amount of landscaping and irrigation installed around residential buildings;
    • Installing water wise landscaping where appropriate and using low flow gardening methods; and
    • Installing water-conserving household plumbing fixtures, including toilets, showerheads, aerators, and washing machines.

 

Implement Priority Reach-based Projects

    1. Riparian Sources: With SCWCP partners, identify, develop, and implement reach-concentrated water diversion reductions and streamflow restoration projects and practices in the watershed. Proposed project types include:
      • Design and installation of residential roofwater harvesting systems to replace extractive water sources for non-potable water uses;
      • Design and installation of agricultural water supply storage such as off-channel ponds and roofwater harvesting systems, including water distribution systems for livestock use and riparian corridor fencing; and
      • Continuation of the Bodega Pilot Program through implementation of roofwater harvesting and off-channel water storage projects that measurably reduce direct diversions from Salmon Creek, as well as associated SCWCP effectiveness monitoring.
    2. Uplands: With SCWCP partners, identify and implement regionally-concentrated groundwater recharge and spring enhancement projects and practices in the watershed. Proposed project types include:
      • Grading and planting stormwater infiltration swales on residential and agricultural roads;
      • Design and installation of rain gardens to capture and infiltrate excess stormwater;
      • Replacement of impervious surfaces (such as parking areas and patios) with pervious materials (such as grass pavers and porous concrete) to increase groundwater recharge; and
      • Design and installation of residential roofwater harvesting systems to replace groundwater sources for non-potable water uses.

Research and Practice Development

    1. Research: Conduct scientific research and planning tools to support SCWCP efforts, including:
      • Researching, mapping, and designating high-priority groundwater recharge areas within the watershed based on known characteristics of geology, soils, slope stability, and land uses;
      • Developing an accurate accounting of livestock types and distribution densities within the subwatersheds;
      • Exploring linkages between upland springs and creeks and flows in Salmon Creek and its tributaries;
      • Researching and incorporating climate change predictions into developing projects that improve the watershed’s resiliency to predicted alterations in weather patterns and events;
      • Researching the viability of beaver (Castor canadensis) re-introduction into appropriate locales within the watershed to provide instreamflow and fish habitat improvement;
      • Researching and reporting on the relationship between riparian vegetation and instreamflow;
      • Refining hydrologic models of the watershed, including water supply, demand, and diversion datasets, to identify priority sites for rainwater catchment and runoff storage systems; and
      • Researching options for tracking reductions in water extractions and monitoring streamflow and/or streamflow related habitat responses.
    2. Practices: Bring SCWCP scientific research, data and methodologies to a wide audience, including:
      • Refined practices to increase groundwater recharge, spring enhancement, and direct diversion reductions.
      • Research and options for protecting existing streamflows and voluntary discontinuations of diversions for instreamflow restoration;
      • Protocols for transferring SCWCP scientific findings to appropriate Sonoma County agencies (such as the Sonoma County Water Agency and the Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department) for use in their planning efforts.

 Continue Outreach and Education to Watershed Residents

  1. Community Sustainability: Communicate via meetings, website content, and other materials, that the SCWCP objective is to improve the watershed resident’s quality of life and local agriculture while improving instreamflows and habitat for fish and other aquatic organisms.
  2. Ecological Awareness: Develop materials and strategies for educating residents about:
    • Ecological impacts of pumping water directly from creeks;
    • Importance of maintaining healthy and fire resilient forests and woodlands to ensure optimal stream health;
    • Options for abstaining from using riparian water rights for the purpose of improving salmonid habitat; and
    • Practices and implementation materials that support landowners in increasing upland spring production and groundwater recharge.
  3. Water Supply, Use and Policy: Develop and host workshops that provide substantive water supply, use and policy information to residents, including:
    • Types and levels of water use in the watershed (including rural residential, dairies, ranching, schools and recreational properties, and vineyards);
    • Impacts that varying types of vegetation have on streamflows (for example, willows or redwoods);
    • Impacts that varying types of vegetation have on streamflows (for example, willows or redwoods);
    • Interconnection of groundwater, surface water, and springs;
    • Documented changes in streamflow levels over the past decades;
    • Impacts of upstream diversions on downstream users; and
    • Potential impacts of emerging legislation (such as AB 2121, AB 811, and AB 2304) on landowners’ existing and future water supply and use rights.
  4. Agricultural Water Conservation: Develop and host workshops and individual consultations for agricultural landowners on targeted water conservation methods for agricultural operations.
  5. Existing Programs: Inform residents about existing water conservation incentive Programs, including Sonoma County Energy Independence Program.
  6. Community Monitoring: Explore opportunities for involving volunteers in monitoring water supply, including:
    • Promoting volunteer monitoring of creek conditions and refining the methods for collecting data about creek conditions;
    • Seasonal spring flow monitoring;
    • Promoting installation of residential rain gauges and refining methods for collecting and analyzing data from the gauges; and
    • Developing a well monitoring program and methods for collecting and analyzing data on spatial and temporal variations in groundwater supplies.

Support Management of Water Systems in the Watershed

  1. Infrastructure: To reduce unaccounted-for water losses in water systems throughout the watershed, identify opportunities to upgrade each system’s infrastructure, including:
    • Developing and maintaining accurate records of system infrastructure;
    • Sub-metering to troubleshoot leaks;
    • Repair and/or replacement of leaking water lines;
    • Repair and/or replacement of leaking storage tanks; and
    • Regular replacement of water meters.
  2. Water Supply Sustainability: Research and develop a suite of options for ensuring ecologically-sound water supply sustainability in the watershed, including:
    • Working with local water systems to develop water balance strategies for each system so that water demands do not exceed supply;
    • Long-term planning and implementation for adequate storage for each system, including options that support the reduction or elimination of extractive diversions during the dry season;
    • Developing and hosting a series of workshops with SCWCP partners and regulators to align on mutually-agreeable alternative sources for potable and non-potable water; and
    • Developing recommendations for appropriate water conservation rate structures for each small water system.
  3. Customer/Member Engagement: Support engagement of local water system customers/members in water conservation efforts by:
    • Providing SCWCP materials to water system staff for distribution to customers/members, and
    • Developing targeted workshops to present information about each system’s infrastructure and operations. Depending on the preference of the water system management, these workshops could be co-hosted with water system staff.

Coastal Community Information Transfer

  1. Utilize SCWCP partner expertise and products to conduct trainings for organizations in other coastal communities seeking to develop water conservation programs that support improved aquatic habitat while simultaneously supporting the freshwater demands of residents.