Chapter 4: Laguna de Santa Rosa
Chapter 4 of “Our Watershed Stories” explores a beautiful wetland hidden between Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, and Cotati!
“The Laguna is a 22 mile long wetland complex,” explains David Bannister, executive director of the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation. “It stretches from its headwaters in Cotati to where it joins the Russian River in Forestville.
"You could trace the ecosystem all the way to the top of the Mayacamas. It includes upland seasonal wetlands like vernal pools," he adds, "[and] areas that look more creek-like during the summertime."
Jon Niehaus of the Sonoma County Water Agency reports that “there’s western pond turtle, red-legged frog, steelhead trout, and coho salmon,” among others. Yet many of these channels aren't natural at all.
As part of his job, Niehaus notes, “it’s a year-round effort to clean up [the] garbage.”
There have been many positive changes on this important wetland. Those changes depend on people. “In the urban area, it connects the community to a creek,” says Niehaus. “People see it; they work as part of a community group to restore it.”
The Laguna de Santa Rosa remains as one of the Northern California’s most critical wetlands. David Bannister says that it’s been “declared a wetland of international importance.” He adds, “There are only 5 such wetlands in the state of California!”
As Niehaus knows very well, “it’s just such an important community resource!”
Ninth Annual Garden Art Gala - Sunday, September 9, 2012 from 2 - 6 PM, in Sebastopol