Who Rules California’s Russian River?

Lake Sonoma. Credit: Water Environment Research Foundation

Who has rightful claim to California’s Russian River? Federal law may protect the river habitat in the name of endangered fish, but on land, grapevines are king. In the first of a two-part series, NOAA’s Caitlyn Kennedy describes how NOAA scientists are working with partners at other agencies and universities to help find compromise amid local tensions over water supplies.

Part 1 describes scientists’ efforts to understand and predict not just the river on land, but its counterpart in the sky—a river that delivers extreme, sometimes drought-busting storms into the heart of California’s wine country. Sometimes these storms can be a blessing. And at other times, a curse.

Part 1 is now available at: http://www.climate.gov/news-features/features/who-rules-californias-russian-river

Part 2 will explore how better forecasting of and strategies for coping with extreme events could lessen water conflicts along the Russian River.