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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Russian River Estuary Project Receives Grant

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grant 
Received for Russian River Estuary Study 

The Sonoma County Water Agency (Water Agency) in cooperation with the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) has received a $59,760.00 grant from the Board of Directors of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (Foundation) to support research and assessment of federally listed coho salmon, steelhead and Chinook salmon in the Russian River watershed. Specifically, the grant will fund the placement of equipment to track fish implanted with passive integrated transponder tags – small electronic devices used to identify individual fish – as they enter the Russian River estuary. The work is part of a larger effort to monitor survival, growth and habitat selection as fish move through the estuary. The data gathered from the tags will help define the role of the Russian River estuary in shaping native salmonid populations.

“Fishery recovery programs require not only the data necessary to effectively recover federally listed salmonids, but the funding to staff and purchase the equipment necessary to obtain that data.  The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant will support successful recovery programs such as the Water Agency and their efforts to gather valuable information on salmonid populations in the Russian River estuary,” said Representative Mike Thompson. 

“The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s grant will support essential research to identify the role estuaries and freshwater habitats play in the life cycle of federally listed coho salmon, steelhead and Chinook salmon,” said Water Agency Chairman Efren Carrillo.  “It is an honor to receive Foundation support for our ongoing fisheries recovery program at the Water Agency.”

The Water Agency and UCCE will build on current monitoring programs within the Russian River watershed to track fish through the Russian River and the estuary.  Information from the research program will be presented to resource management agencies and community-based restoration efforts for recovery of viable, self-sustaining populations of salmonid species along the central California coast.

The Water Agency has previously received support from the Foundation under its prestigious Keystone Initiatives program.  Keystone Initiatives are a core portfolio of multi-year initiatives through which the Foundation and its partners seek to achieve measurable outcomes. Specific goals and strategies are identified for each Initiative. Outcomes are continuously evaluated and objectives refined as the Initiative evolves. Keystone Initiatives are selected by the Foundation's board of directors, based on recommendations from staff.  The Water Agency’s Keystone Initiative is called the Russian River Coho Salmon Keystone Initiative that provides guidelines for the recovery of a viable, self-sustaining population of coho salmon to the Russian River watershed.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit that preserves and restores the nation’s native wildlife species and habitats. The Foundation provides funding on a competitive basis to projects that sustain, restore, and enhance our Nation's fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats.

The Sonoma County Water Agency is working to secure our future by investing in our water resources, community and environment.  The Water Agency provides water supply, flood protection and sanitation services for portions of Sonoma and Marin counties.

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