Mark West Creek

Mark West Creek

The Mark West Creek watershed supports a number of state and federally protected plant and animal species, including steelhead trout and recently, coho salmon. It provides the eastern-most habitat for coho in the Russian River watershed. Due to the relatively intact habitat and high biological value of the upper watershed, Mark West Creek is a critical link in advancing steelhead trout and coho salmon recovery efforts in the Russian River watershed. This watershed is unique within the scope of the Coho Partnership’s five priority watersheds due to the diversity of the landscape. The lower reaches of Mark West Creek are highly urbanized while higher in the watershed rural residential, agricultural, recreational, and ecologically protected areas are more frequent.

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.  

In 2014, Mark West Creek watershed was selected as one of five priority stream systems as part of the California Water Action Plan (WAP). California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will develop flow criteria in priority streams as part of Action 4 in the WAP, to protect and restore important ecosystems. A Study Plan was released by CDFW in June 2018, which may be used to assist with salmonid restoration and recovery efforts through the WAP. Currently, Sonoma RCD is conducting a Flow Availability Analysis for Streamflow Enhancement Planning and Project Identification with the intent of developing a hydrologic model of the Mark West Creek watershed. This model will synthesize natural and human components to predict the streamflow related to salmonid habitat requirements.   

A large portion of Mark West Creek watershed was impacted by the 2017 North Bay wildfires. During this time, projects temporarily shifted from traditional alternative water source projects to post-fire erosion control and riparian re-vegetation within this area. The Partnership is currently working with landowners to incorporate rainwater catchment and Slow it. Spread it. Sink it. Store it! plans as they rebuild their properties.

Mark West Creek Watershed

For more information, see Mark West watershed on the Sonoma RCD website. 


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