Watershed Divide Display Case in Occidental
June 2006 to Present
In Western Sonoma County, the location of the town of Occidental straddles a saddle between two distinct watersheds, Salmon Creek Watershed and Dutch Bill Creek Watershed, a tributary of the Russian River Basin. The town is bisected by what is called a watershed ridge divide which roughly runs through the south end of town, where the picnic tables sit in front of Howard’s Station. Dedicated members of the Dutch Bill Creek Watershed Group and the Salmon Creek Watershed Council seized the opportunity of this site to educate picnicking visitors and locals.
Back in June of 2006, they unveiled the fruits of their hard labor in the form of a watershed literacy interpretive display case. In March 2020, the display was renovated with a newly designed map and updated timeline of the groups’ efforts to restore and protect Coho salmon.
This beautifully sculpted kiosk, with hand crafted steam-bent shingles and lovely salmon shaped trusses, houses a wealth of educational materials and is a must-see for locals, and eco-tourists alike. The north side of the display is dedicated to Dutch Bill Creek Watershed and the south side of the display is dedicated to the Salmon Creek Watershed. This kiosk provides an opportunity for these two active citizen based watershed groups to display their informative watershed maps, pictures, wildlife and plant lists, restoration information, community watershed related activities, public meetings and other pertinent ideas of interest to local community members and visiting tourists. We hope that you too will venture down to visit this kiosk and have a “watershed moment” of your own!
On behalf of the Dutch Bill Creek Watershed Group and the Salmon Creek Watershed Council, the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center’s WATER Institute was able to make this exciting project happen due to a generous grant from the all the members of the Sunrise Sebastopol Rotary Club. Many thanks are due to the skilled carpenters who volunteered their time, Mischa Steinbruck, James Pelican, Jim Coleman, Kate Lundquist and Stephanie Smith.
The new, upgraded poster was produced by the OAEC WATER Institute as a summary of the Dutch Bill Creek Streamflow Improvement Plan (Russian River Coho Water Resources Partnership, 2017), a highly technical document originally for restoration professionals. The new poster presents the same information in an approachable form, with with infographics and photos geared toward educating the general audience of visitors to the town. It includes maps, Coho Salmon population data, and most importantly, the history and milestones of community-based restoration efforts with the hopes of inspiring community involvement.