Monday, May 3, 2010

My no Low-Flow letter

Greetings, readers:

Below, please find the letter I wrote to accompany the Low Flow Protest form I've filled out & sent to the State Water Resrouces Control Board, Sonoma County Water Agency, & Russian River Watershed Protection Committee. The deadline has been extended to MAY 13th, which means you'll need to mail your Low Flow Protest form by TUESDAY MAY 11th for them to arrive in time.

PLEASE take a little time, printer's ink, paper & stamp money to fill out & mail this. The idea of low water levels along the Russian River every summer for the rest of our lives is simply too dreary & depressing to contemplate. Writing a letter to send with the form can also help get the message across. Feel free to use mine to help you get started.

Thanks, everyone!

May 3, 2010

State Water Resources Control Board

Division of Water Rights

PO Box #2000

Sacramento, CA 95812-2000

To Whom It May Concern:

As an environmentalist, property owner, concerned citizen, and mother, I strongly oppose the proposed modification for lowering Russian River summer flows on a permanent basis for the following reasons:

  • Negative impact on water quality: Last summer’s low water flows – necessitated by drought conditions – resulted in stagnant pools, algae blooms, and poor water quality. In addition, my daughter (and other children in the area) have contracted stomach viruses and/or ear infections within hours of swimming in the River last summer. We don’t need to conduct expensive scientific studies with voluminous page counts – like the one you hired Entrix (a non-local company based in Dearborn, MI) to do – to know that these conditions cannot possibly benefit any species of fish, endangered or otherwise.
  • Negative impact on our economy: The towns of Forestville, Rio Nido, Guerneville, Monte Rio, Cazadero, Duncans Mills and Jenner rely heavily on tourism for financial survival even in the best of times. In today’s precarious economy, Low Flow would destroy our tourist industry and serve the death blow to our local businesses, real estate values, tax base, and already beleaguered public infrastructure.
  • Negative impact on our quality of life: Many of us have chosen to live on the Russian River because of the area’s unique natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Low Flow would permanently damage our natural resources and our communities.

This is also to point out that our part of the Russian River (Rio Nido, Guerneville and Monte Rio) has been designated as a Redevelopment Area due to its economic and environmental vulnerability. Over a decade’s worth of our communities’ tax dollars – plus time and labor from Russian River Redevelopment Oversight Committee members and countless others – have been invested in promoting ecologically sustainable economic growth and opportunities here on the River.

To destroy everything our citizens, business owners, and other stakeholders have loved and worked for over the years by implementing permanent Low Flow conditions would be unconscionable. I don’t understand how such an irrational and potentially destructive proposal backed by such limited and flimsy scientific justification could possibly merit serious consideration. The higher levels of water flow that Russian River residents and visitors have enjoyed since at least the late 1800’s didn’t kill the fish. Over-fishing and pollution from agricultural run-off and sewage from Santa Rosa killed the fish.


Elisabeth A. Parker

Cc: (1) Sonoma County Water Agency C/O Grant Davis, General Manager, P.O. Box 11628, Santa Rosa, CA 95406; (2) Russian River Watershed Protection Committee P.O. Box 501, Guerneville, CA 95446

Encl: SWRCB Protest form

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