Russian River Watershed

The Russian River watershed stretches across approximately 1,500 square miles of Sonoma and Mendocino county, bordered by the Coast Ranges. The watershed receives most of its rainfall during the winter, where average annual precipitation can vary anywhere between 30 to 80 inches.

The Russian River’s headwaters spring from the Laughlin Range, near Redwood and Potter Valley, located east of Willits. The river travels southward for approximately 110 miles and flows into the Pacific Ocean near the Sonoma Coast State Park, just north of Bodega Bay. The watershed is made up of about 240 streams and creeks and provides habitat to over 60 fish species. The land use is a mix of forestland, agricultural lands, and urban, with 95% of the watershed under private ownership.

There are two major reservoirs within the Russian River watershed. The Coyote Dam and Lake Mendocino, which was constructed in 1958 near Ukiah, and the Warm Spring Dam and Lake Sonoma, completed in 1983 near Healdsburg. These reservoirs were built largely for water supply storage. The Russian River is a vital resource, providing domestic water to more than half a million people, and large amounts for agricultural use.

Currently we have not been able to successfully run VELMA on the Russian River watershed. Charts and further analysis will be added once/if the VELMA simulation is successfully run.

This is a three dimensional representation of the Russian River Watershed’s terrain. To interact with map, use the left click to rotate, the right click to pan, and the mouse wheel to zoom in and out.

References: Russian River Watershed Cleanup, Russian River Watershed Association, CA Water Boards,

Check out the other watersheds:
Noyo River Watershed | Eel River Watershed | Trinity River Watershed