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Lake Sonoma is up...and other good news after the Russian River floods.

Lake Sonoma is up . . . and other good news after the Russian River floods

Mud and water submerged a 15-mile stretch of Sonoma County's popular Russian River recreation country last February. But determined local entrepreneurs set Memorial Day as the date they'd be back in business--and, at our press time, they were right on target.

Here's an update on flood-damaged Sonoma County.

Rebuilding, recovery--and improvement

Familiar recreation areas from Healdsburg through Guerneville and down to Duncan's Mills should look much as they did last summer. As usual, areas closest to the river suffered most during flood season. Nonetheless, no major business, restaurant, or shop has permanently closed because of the disaster, and many have used the rebuilding period as an opportunity to improve structures and facilities.

Benefits from the flood--for fishing, river boating, Lake Sonoma recreation

The heavy rains brought some good news for sportsmen.

Rushing waters may have washed out the early salmon spawn in tributary rivers, but they cleaned spawning gravel of debris and silt for later-spawning steelhead. Anglers won't find much change in action this summer, but next year there may be more fish.

Boating enthusiasts can look forward to a longer season. During the dry season, the Russian River draws down stored rainwater from Lake Mendocino and Lake Sonoma, and by September the river level is usually so low that canoe bottoms scrape rocks. This year, with the reservoirs at record levels, the Russian will remain canoeable into late fall.

Three companies offer guided canoe trips down the river: Trowbridge Recreation in Healdsburg, (707) 433-7247; California Rivers Kiwi Kayak and Canoe Trips in Windsor, (707) 838-7787; and Burke's Canoe Trips in Forestville, (707) 887-1222. You can also rent canoes from The Midway Deli at 15045 River Road in Guerneville, (707) 869-0501, or at Johnson's Beach in downtown Guerneville, (707) 869-2045.

Lake Sonoma, created by the construction of the Warm Springs Dam in 1983 (see page 50 of the November 1985 Sunset), wasn't expected to reach capacity water level until 1988. But during last February's storms, the lake rose from a third of capacity to 6 feet above capacity. The flooding actually enlarged this new recreation area, increasing its shoreline from 20 miles to 53 miles and doubling its volume to 245,000 acre-feet of water. A temporary marina set up last May is now 100 feet under water, but a permanent new facility was nearly completed at our press time. To reserve rental boats or secure a campsite, call (707) 433-2200.

More details on what's available

For more information on resorts and activities in the area, write to Russian River Region, Inc., Box 255, Guerneville 95446, or call (800) 253-8800.

Photo: Fall 1985. A year after it started filling, Lake Sonoma was deep enough for water-skiing, but was only a third of capacity

Photo: Spring 1986. Winter floods raised water level 100 feet to double lake--and shorten what you see of bridge support

Photo: Swept off foundations by flood waters, cabins at Guerneville's Southside Resort were redeposited at crazy angles
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jun 1, 1986
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