Examine any watershed in urban, suburban or even much of rural America, look at the topographical arrangement of streambeds, the channels carved by flowing water and the hand of gravity, and what you don’t see, hiding in plain sight, is plumbing.
But the plumbing is everywhere.
There is hardly a river or stream in Sonoma County that hasn’t been channeled, dredged, straightened, redirected, buried, diverted or just dried up, even though much of it isn’t obvious to the casual observer.
The waterscape of Sonoma Valley bears little resemblance to its historical past; marshes and wetlands are largely gone, the channel of Sonoma Creek – the Valley’s principal artery – is constricted and down-cut; pipes and culverts carry water underground and out of sight.
The same is true of Fryer Creek, now on many people’s minds because of the sudden disappearance of impounded water that drained through a streambed culvert that mysteriously came unclogged two weeks ago.