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Searching for water solutions

The City of Sonoma, the Sonoma County Water Agency and the Sonoma Ecology Center are collaborating on a series of integrated projects to better manage Valley water, with the most recent work creating a highly visible presence at Montini Open Space Preserve.

The project, in which geologists and hydrologists are currently taking ground samples and drilling test wells in the Fifth Street West meadow at the edge of the preserve, is part of the larger City Watersheds of Sonoma Valley Project. That effort is a multi-benefit project being developed to help address local flooding, promote groundwater recharge and enhance habitat along Fryer Creek. The water agency and its partners recently received a $1.89 million grant from the Department of Water Resources in a statewide competition for its $4.14 million project.

Betty Andrews, who is a principal engineer focusing on environmental hydrology at Environmental Science Associates, Phillip Williams and Associates (ESA PWA),

is working to actively implement the watersheds project in Sonoma through site investigations and research with her team.

The project’s first priority, Andrews explained, is reducing flood hazards by finding the best locations for reduction. In addition to looking at Fryer Creek and areas within the city, researchers are paying specific attention to Nathanson Creek because, if that creek floods, it has the potential to affect the most people in the surrounding city neighborhoods.


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