Salmon Creek Water Conservation Program


The WATER Institute is a founding member of the Salmon Creek Water Conservation Program which has been working in the Salmon Creek watershed to educate residents, landowners and citizen activists about watershed conservation since 2000. Learn more about the Salmon Creek Watershed.

The Salmon Creek Water Conservation Program was developed out of the recognized need to increase dry season instream flows. Successive years of drought and increased water demand pressures are taking a toll on the creeks and on the watershed’s ability to supply sufficient, high quality water. Juvenile salmon and steelhead trout need cold, flowing water to survive the summer. Many stretches of our creeks are going dry and the fish are dying.

Groundwater sources are often inadequate and existing wells are losing production. Surface water sources are in limited supply and require water rights permits for use. Residents of the watershed need reliable, safe, and sustainable water supplies for homes, gardens, livestock and businesses. To support the needs of both the fish and the human residents of the Salmon Creek watershed, Program efforts are directed toward:

  • Describing extractive water usage in the watershed
  • Identifying opportunities to reduce human water-demand impacts on streamflow
  • Developing tools to promote water use efficiency and conservation
  • Supporting residents in implementing water conservation practices and developing alternative water sources. This long-term program will take many years and collaboration among organizations, agencies, and landowners

Current Activities and Tools

The Program has begun with a number of local organizations, funded by state and federal agencies, developing the following:

Water Conservation Plan (produced by Occidental Arts and Ecology Center’s WATER Institute, Prunuske Chatham Inc., and Virginia Porter)

This document summarizes the Salmon Creek Water Conservation Program. It contains background information, recommendations, and tools developed to conserve water, improve existing water sources, and develop new storage-based sources, while protecting and increasing instream flows. Download the entire Salmon Creek Water Conservation Plan PDF, or for specific pieces of the Plan, see below.

Water Consumption Analysis

Description of water demands in the Salmon Creek watershed that compares rural residential use, agriculture production, and community systems and provides an overview of groundwater and surface water supplies, their use, and their limitations. Download the Water Consumption Analysis PDF Here.

Water Use Maps

These maps were generated as part of our Water Conservation Plan and can be viewed or downloaded separately by clicking on them below (available in jpg and pdf formats). For more detailed descriptions of these maps download and read the entire plan above.

Location of Salmon Creek Watershed
Geologic Map of the Salmon Creek Watershed

Conservation Strategies

Tools for landowners and local communities to increase water conservation and reduce summer demands on groundwater and instream flow. Each strategy includes a brief summary of the topic, discussion of the target community, an assessment of the effect of implementation, a section describing “how to implement,” and numerous tools and resources to facilitate implementation.

Feel free to download these and use them in your community.

Community Water Supply Planning – Bodega Pilot Program

A demonstration project to show how alternative water supply approaches, paired with community water system efficiency improvements, can reduce demand on instream flows and improve habitat for salmonids. Read a description of the Bodega Planning Project, and see below for related implementation projects.


A list and description of recommended actions for restoring summer streamflows and ensuring sufficient, secure water supplies for Salmon Creek residents.

Implementation Projects

Success of the Program requires implementation of widespread water conservation efforts, as well as projects focused on reducing water extractions in critical areas. On-the-ground implementation projects include developing alternative water sources and recharging groundwater. The following are current implementation projects in the watershed:

  • Save Our Salmon (Gold Ridge RCD and Prunuske Chatham, Inc.) – This project is installing individual roofwater catchment systems for residential and agricultural uses in the Bodega Valley to reduce direct summer streamflow extractions. Read more information on the Save Our Salmon project.

Program Partners


Salmon Creek Water Conservation Plan

The Salmon Creek Water Conservation Program (SCWCP) is a multi-year, multi-stakeholder effort focused on developing alternative water supply solutions that support human needs while protecting and restoring instream flows for fish and wildlife (2010).

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