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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Storm-Watershed Café Public Input Meeting

Public Input Sought at “Storm-Watershed Café
The Russian River Watershed Association (RRWA) is hosting a 
“Storm-Watershed Café” on Thursday, January 26, from 10 a.m. 
to noon at the Foss Creek Community Center in Healdsburg (details below).

The purpose of the event, which is modeled on the popular World Café meetings, is to seek input on how to better educate Sonoma and Mendocino county residents on storm drain pollution prevention.

“Our surveys show that many people don’t understand that junk dumped into storm drains goes directly to creeks and eventually into the Russian River and the ocean,” said Rohnert Park Councilman Jake Mackenzie, who is chairman of the RRWA. “The soap and grease from washing a car in the driveway and the trash that kids leave on high school campuses often end up in creeks and streams, where it can harm or even kill fish and other wildlife.”

Past RRWA surveys have found that 53 percent of residents in the Russian River watershed understand that storm drains lead directly to creeks. RRWA is seeking to increase public awareness, potentially through the use of techniques and messages generated by participants of the Storm-Watershed Café. Speakers kicking off the event include Christine Culver, former Director of the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition; Annie Esposito, former News Director at KZYX and presently Co-Publisher of the newsmagazine Mendocino Country Independent; and Connie Cloak, Partner, and Hugo Mata, Director of Media and Bilingual Outreach, at C2:Alternative Services.

The RRWA is comprised of governments that must comply with state and federal storm water regulations, including the cities of Ukiah, Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park and Cotati; the Town of Windsor; Mendocino and Sonoma counties; and the Sonoma County Water Agency. Public outreach and education is one requirement of the storm water permits issued by the State of California to government agencies. Through the RRWA, its member agencies meet this requirement through an annual high school video contest, production and distribution of materials and products (including grease scrapers and storm drain stickers), and monthly columns on storm water pollution prevention.

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