Russian River Estuary Opened

The Sonoma County Water Agency breached the mouth of the Russian River early this afternoon.

I had paddled the upper Russian River estuary the past couple of days, once on my SUP up to Bohemian Grove…

….and again yesterday with my wife in the canoe. On this second outing we made it all the way to the upper limit of the estuarine waters at the Summer Crossing between Guerneville and Monte Rio.

Summer Crossing near Guerneville where the first discernible downstream current is felt when the estuary is full

Here’s a map of some of the second paddle up to the Summer Crossing.

When the estuary gets so full that it is basically a lake from Jenner to Guerneville it begins to flood summer homes along the Jenner shoreline and the Sonoma County Water Agency steps in to breach the levee of sand pushed up into the mouth of the river by the Pacific surf.

We arrived to witness the breaching, but CalTrans work on Highway 1 delayed the delivery of the excavator to Goat Rock Beach where the breaching was to take place. There was no excavator, just an empty beach and a full lagoon.

To pass the time waiting for the excavator to arrive my wife and I took a walk along the coast on the Kortum Trail from Shell Beach to Wright’s Beach. Wright’s Beach has nice pebbly stretches mixed in with ordinary sandy sand.

Fine pebbles on Wright’s Beach

When we returned to the Jenner overlook in the misty mid afternoon, the breaching of the estuary had just been completed and the water began flowing out the the Pacific Ocean.

 

Harbor Seals were swimming in the lagoon and in the Pacific surf just where the fresh water was running out to the ocean. We could see a few making their way back and forth between the two.

 

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