Water agency outlines flood mitigation

Wednesday evening, the Sonoma County Water Agency and its partners presented to a full room of concerned citizens a multi-benefit project to mitigate flooding in two area creeks and to revitalize groundwater in the Valley.

The Jan. 29 meeting, hosted in the Community Meeting Room, outlined the City Watersheds of Sonoma Valley project, which was awarded a highly competitive $1.89 million grant by the California Department of Water Resources through Proposition 1E funding. To receive the grant, the group had to demonstrate a strong partnership of agencies working on a multiple-use project with an education component.

The project, which is still in preliminary and test phases, will be located on the Montini Preserve and along Fryer Creek.

Sonoma County 1st District Supervisor Susan Gorin, who serves on the water agency and Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District boards, as well as on the county’s Water Advisory Committee, said, “It’s strange to talk about flooding during a dry period, but the reality is what’s part of climate change is unpredictable weather, so we have to look at the long term.”

After numerous scoping studies to identify an area ideal for a multi-benefit project, the water agency’s Principal Engineer, Kent Gylfe, explained that the Fryer Creek and Nathanson Creek areas, along with the Schell Creek area in Kenwood, were prime locations to both mitigate flooding in high-risk urban areas and increase groundwater supplies that are on the decline throughout the county. While the first part of the project, Gylfe explained, will look specifically at Fryer and Nathanson creeks, eventually the group plans to implement similar projects throughout the Valley.

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