Mark West Creek
Mark West Creek originates in the Mayacamas Mountains in
Sonoma County, flows through the Laguna de Santa Rosa and
drains to the Russian River near Forestville. The upper Mark West
Creek watershed is an important sub-basin that drains approximately
40 square miles of terrain into the Mark West / Laguna de Santa Rosa
system. The watershed ranges from 1800 ft. in elevation at the
headwaters of Mark West Creek to 40 ft. at the Russian River
Current land uses in the upper Mark West watershed include
vineyards, timber lands, rangeland, rural residential, and recreational
and ecologically protected areas.
The Mark West Creek watershed supports a number of state and
federally protected plant and animal species, including steelhead
trout and, recently, coho salmon. Due to the relatively intact habitat
and high biological value of the upper watershed, as well as its
status as the only Coho habitat in the Russian east of Healdsburg,
Mark West Creek is a critical link in the efforts to protect steelhead
trout and coho salmon recovery efforts in the Russian River
The confluence of Mark West Creek and the Russian River is near
municipal wells which supply clean drinking water for over 600,000
people in three counties. Efforts to restore and conserve lands for
agriculture, recreation and biodiversity protection, also help to ensure
reliable, clean drinking water for a large population.
The Upper Mark West Creek watershed was selected as a keystone
watershed for the Sotoyome RCD Russian River Monitoring and
Assessment Program (RRCSP) in 1999 due to the significant aquatic
resources and the relatively high interest, awareness and
stewardship ethic shown by landowners and residents to restore and
protect the watershed. This effort has resulted in the ongoing
identification and implementation of projects that address the highest
Projects (completed or pending)
- Sediment reduction on rural roads.
- Riparian revegetation enhancement.
- Instream habitat enhancement.
- Watershed Management Plan - Phase II under development.
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