Sonoma Resource Conservation District

Petaluma River

Petaluma River

To view the watershed details, click on the watershed Overview" text to expose the details. Click on the "Watershed Overview" text again to close the text.

Watershed Overview

Current & Past RCD Programs:


  • The RCD has worked with many agricultural producers in Petaluma River Watershed to enhance their farming operations and protect soil and water resources.
  • The RCD is working with the Casa Grande Anglers, NOAA, and State Parks to develop a in-stream and/or riparian enhancement project on Adobe Creek, a tributary to the Petaluma River. The goals of the project is to enhance steelhead habitat and riparian habitat function and diversity.

Watershed Scale Planning

  • Historical Hydrology Study of the Petaluma River Watershed: In partnership with the San Francisco Estuary Institute – Aquatic Science Center (SFEI), the RCD is collecting historical data about the streams encompassed by the Petaluma River Watershed in order to develop a comprehensive historical hydrology study. This study will help summarize the historical land use and hydrologic changes that have occurred within this watershed. This data will help inform and guide stakeholders and partner agencies when identifying future restoration and environmental enhancement projects for the Petaluma River and its tributaries.
  • In 2013, the RCD worked to update the original Petaluma Watershed Enhancement Plan with watershed partners. Draft still under review.

On-the-Ground Projects

  • Habitat Enhancement: The RCD plays an integral role implementing flood control, channel maintenance, and revegetation projects. Many of these projects have been implemented on Adobe, Lichau, Capri and Lynch, creeks and the Denman and Corona reaches along the Petaluma River. 
  • Levee Maintenance Program: In order to maintain the levees, landowners are required to obtain permits from many jurisdictional agencies. Currently, the RCD administers several permits issued by each regulatory agency for levee maintenance activities being completed by numerous landowners in the Petaluma River Watershed. Read more about the Levee here.

Agricultural and Environmental Education


  • Annually the RCD hosts the Petaluma Fall Trash Cleanup Event with the Friends of the Petaluma River, where over 260 residents, youth and community members come out to help clean up the watershed along targeted tributaries and main stem access points.
  • FARMS Leadership Program field days are annually hosted on private agricultural properties in South County.
  • Agricultural Heritage Series public outings are annually held in partnership with the Sonoma Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, touring conservation easement protected working agricultural properties.

Water Resources Management

  • Slow it, Spread It, Sink It, Store It!” practices are implemented with landowners throughout the watershed. These practices can help to protect and replenish groundwater resources, reduce erosion and pollution, prevent flooding and increase water conservation and stormwater management.

Links to other important organizations in the watershed

Friends of the Petaluma River Watershed
North Bay Agricultural Alliance
City of Petaluma
Western United Dairymen
San Francisco Estuary Institute
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program
United States Army Corps of Engineers
United States Department of Agriculture
United States Environmental Protection Agency
United States Fish & Wildlife Service
California Coastal Conservancy
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
California Regional Water Quality Control Boards, North Coast Region
California State Water Resources Control Board
University of California Cooperative Extension
Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District
Sonoma County Department of Transportation and Public Works
Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department
Sonoma County Public Health Division
Sonoma County Regional Parks Department
Sonoma County Water Agency
Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner
San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board
Sonoma County Farm Bureau
Sonoma County Farm Trails
Sonoma County Winegrape Commission
Sonoma Land Trust
California Waterfowl Association
Community Alliance of Family Farmers
Ducks Unlimited
Trout Unlimited

For more information about the Petaluma Watershed please contact Kara Heckert at 707.569.1448 ext 104 or