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  1. TopTop #1
    Purplehazel's Avatar
    Purplehazel
    Supporting Member

    The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    I made this video (less than 3 minutes) because I believe we need a re-think about what "The River" means to us. Would love to start a dialog...

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  3. TopTop #2
    kateea
    Guest

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    The Russian River is a jewel and needs to be protected for the future... keep it clean
    even in the winter it is super
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  4. TopTop #3
    Jacobtwersky
     

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    Would digging a trench in the sand to let the water flow out help at all??

    Quote Purplehazel wrote: View Post
    I made this video (less than 3 minutes) because I believe we need a re-think about what "The River" means to us. Would love to start a dialog...

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  5. TopTop #4
    spam1's Avatar
    spam1
     

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    I think you miss the point: River Good, people bad...

    I guess the goal is to not allow any people to interact with the river in any way. Probably better for the river (hard to argue with that) but not so pleasant for people (who can use an iPhone to chase pokemons so who needs the river anyhow).

    Quote Jacobtwersky wrote: View Post
    Would digging a trench in the sand to let the water flow out help at all??
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  7. TopTop #5
    Dan Gurney's Avatar
    Dan Gurney
     

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    Thank you for making a video that shows you're interested in the well being of the river and all the creatures who live there. You're heart's in thee right place....

    The health of the river—and all the life that lives in its estuary—is of paramount importance to many people, including me. There's wide agreement with your sentiment.

    I encourage you to dig deeper and learn more. The Russian River's mouth does not close because of the recreation dams your video shows. It closes due to waves washing sand up the beach.

    The mouth's closing turns the river into a summertime lagoon. This is a natural phenomenon. Wildlife biologists will tell you that when it closes it allows invertebrates in the lagoon thrive. Those invertebrates are what steelhead and salmon fry eat as they grow up and get ready for life in the Pacific. More of them survive and years later return in winter to spawn and keep the life cycle going.

    The lagoon's natural closing is GOOD for all the animals you list.

    The summertime recreational dams are not the reason for the mouth closing.

    And the Sonoma County Water Agency does breach the mouth when the summertime river levels get above 7 feet. Here's a photo I took at the mouth when they breached it on June 27. (It's since been breached by locals.)

    Name:  Moment of Truth 6:27:16.jpg
Views: 1201
Size:  68.3 KB

    If you want to know about the picture above, visit my blog, Estuarian. Go into the archives to the post on June 27, 2016 and you can read an account and see more pictures and a short video of that day's events.

    Another good resource for learning more about the river is Russian River Keepers who've been working on restoring the Russian River for a long time.

    Welcome aboard. We need more people who care about the Russian River!
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  8. TopTop #6
    Purplehazel's Avatar
    Purplehazel
    Supporting Member

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    The point is what can we do to bring about a solution where people can enjoy the river without destroying the river? Is it necessary to bulldoze the banks and install dams every year? There are numerous swimming holes, natural deep swimming holes, along the river. I know the national conversation regarding just about everything right now is "x good, y bad", but I think we can do better than that. I would like to learn more, which is why I brought it to a public forum. Thanks for your input.

    Quote spam1 wrote: View Post
    I think you miss the point: River Good, people bad...
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  10. TopTop #7
    Shepherd's Avatar
    Shepherd
    Supporting Member

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    I agree that it is too simplistic to say things such as People Bad/River Good. Rather than things always being either/or, they can also be both/and. Most of the people that I know, for example, are good. On the other hand, people and things that appear to be "good" usually also have things that are not so good. This even includes great people, such as Gandhi. Water and rivers deserve to enjoyed by fish, plants, and other animals, including humans, in my opinion.

    Quote Purplehazel wrote: View Post
    ...now the national conversation regarding just about everything right now is "x good, y bad", but I think we can do better than that. ...
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  12. TopTop #8
    Purplehazel's Avatar
    Purplehazel
    Supporting Member

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    I appreciate your reply - this is the kind of discussion I am looking for. I know about the groups you mention, I support them, and I know a bit about ecology. It seems to me to be a justification to say that the summer dams and annual bulldozing is a good thing for the river life. The nesting on the banks from the sudden change in the river levels gets disturbed, the temperature of the water gets raised and bacteria (and a ton of trash) builds up in the artificial swimming pool that gets created. The bulldozing, which I witness every year in Monte Rio, is not a natural phenomenon, nor is the earthmover in your picture. The noise, the grinding, the silting.

    The river was doing its job for thousands of years before these machines were invented. How is it possible that damming the river is not affecting the flow out to the sea? While the summer lagoon may be a natural phenomenon, it is not being allowed to happen naturally.

    Quote Dan Gurney wrote: View Post
    Thank you for making a video that shows you're interested in the well being of the river and all the creatures who live there. You're heart's in the right place....
    ...
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  14. TopTop #9
    spam1's Avatar
    spam1
     

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    Sorry for the sarcastic response without the appropriate #SarcasmOn marker.

    The video propaganda conflates two or three largely unrelated phenomena:
    The summer dams mean people arrive at the river beaches, and the video implied this causes the river to not reach the sea and to reduce the population of sea lions. I think both conclusions are unrelated.

    Or, as I put it more succinctly, the video's point was "people bad". Which is a common ecological point of view and not without merit, but is not very useful.

    Further, I would suppose the Russian River is one of the most heavily regulated non-navigable rivers in America. Even the breaching of the sand bar (which is a nearly yearly occurrence) requires permits from several agencies; as does (I presume) putting up summer dams.

    I'm not sure the river is not being optimally used, excepting of course the occasional (or more than occasional) obnoxious individuals that leave behind a mess because they are too lazy to clean up after themselves. But I seriously wonder how much of that is tourists and visitors vs. homeless campers.

    Quote Purplehazel wrote: View Post
    The point is.
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  16. TopTop #10
    jbox's Avatar
    jbox
     

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    The Russian River already has a huge estuary extending for about 10 miles to the Duncan's Mills bridge. The Federal Government's Biological Opinion (B. O.) wants to extend the estuary past Monte Rio to the Summer bridge, effectively doubling the size of the estuary. The negative effects of actively maintaining the mouth at the ocean closed, as the Water Agency wishes to do, are significant. The lower river from the summer bridge to Duncan's Mills effectively becomes a stagnant body of water without the normal flow. This allows for higher water temperature and a lower dissolved oxygen level, very bad for fish. The water develops higher levels of e-coli and other pathogens which are bad for people and animals. Recreational use by residents and visitors suffer. This has not been completely thought out as the feds are directed to ignore the effects on people.
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  18. TopTop #11
    BethLinley
     

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    Where do they "bulldoze every year in Monte Rio?"

    Quote Purplehazel wrote: View Post
    ... and I know a bit about ecology. It seems to me to be a justification to say that the summer dams and annual bulldozing is a good thing for the river life. The nesting on the banks from the sudden change in the river levels gets disturbed, the temperature of the water gets raised and bacteria (and a ton of trash) builds up in the artificial swimming pool that gets created. The bulldozing, which I witness every year in Monte Rio, is not a natural phenomenon, nor is the earthmover in your picture. The noise, the grinding, the silting.

    The river was doing its job for thousands of years before these machines were invented. How is it possible that damming the river is not affecting the flow out to the sea? While the summer lagoon may be a natural phenomenon, it is not being allowed to happen naturally.
    Last edited by Barry; 07-24-2016 at 01:01 PM.
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  19. TopTop #12
    Purplehazel's Avatar
    Purplehazel
    Supporting Member

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    Quote BethLinley wrote: View Post
    Where do they "bulldoze every year in Monte Rio?"
    Where they bulldoze every year is mostly the side of the "beach" north/east of the bridge, some time in May before Memorial Day Weekend.

    The beach is basically re-created every year, rearranged from what the river has done with its banks during the winter, It's bulldozed flat and what gets bulldozed gets pushed into berms/levees - where you see the hump that demarcates the end of the lower dirt/gravel "parking lot" under the bridge. I say parking lot in quotations, because that whole lower parking lot area is actually the river bed at high water time. Then the trailer that rents out the kayaks and sells snacks is dragged in and a flat space is created for that. The lower parking lot is also graded and then sprayed with something - not water - to keep the dust down for when people are driving in and out. I've been told it's diesel oil, but I cannot substantiate that. It looks like it is diesel oil. So when the high water comes, and I'm not talking about flood, just normal rainy season high water, whatever substance that is gets taken up by the water, i.e. pollutes the water.

    I have started a practice of going out every Monday evening during the summer to pick up trash to try and eliminate some of it from also going into the river come high water time. I pick up cigarette butts on the order of hundreds per week, bottle caps by the hundreds as well, plus the usual plastic wrappers and stuff. Lots of it, despite the fact that there are trash cans there.
    Last edited by Barry; 07-25-2016 at 10:04 AM.
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  21. TopTop #13
    beshiva's Avatar
    beshiva
     

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    oh the dance we do to save our dear river- the river that gives back to us in so many ways.
    many early mornings my husband and i go down to Sunset beach, walk from the parking lot and head on down with our dogs...while the dogs swim a bit, we've hauled our garbage bags along with us and pick up as much trash as we can on those mornings, butts and all. i always feel better after i see it looking so nice, knowing tomorrow it will have to be done all over again because no matter how many garbage cans are along the path, some people will disrespect our mother earth. i've painfully come to accept this fact. and lots of it still winds up in the river.

    sometimes i feel if i clean it up each morning people will start to get the hang of it and not leave their crap behind-and maybe, it is working---maybe, they are and it could be worse huh.
    and yet, i'll get a complaint, dare say, if my dog is off leash having a little fun, or like the day we hiked back up to the parking lot and had forgotten to put our yearly sticker on our car that morning and got a ticket to pay the parking fee...wtf so after three large garbage bags later from some rip-roaring party probably the day before, this is the thanks the park service gives us...kinda funny really.
    Last edited by Barry; 07-25-2016 at 10:05 AM.
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  23. TopTop #14
    jbox's Avatar
    jbox
     

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    Quote beshiva wrote: View Post
    oh the dance we do to save our dear river-...
    Thanks for what you do to keep the River clean. I do much the same on our little stretch, it's just the right thing to do. But this pales in comparison to the work done by Keary Sorenson and the "Garbage Patch Kids", a volunteer group that has taken out over 100,000 pounds of garbage off the river banks from the huge homeless encampments that line the river banks from Forestville to Monte Rio. The amount of trash and environmental degradation from these encampments is staggering. If not for the efforts of the Garbage Patch kids all this garbage would have washed into the River last winter.
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  25. TopTop #15
    jbox's Avatar
    jbox
     

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    Quote Purplehazel wrote: View Post
    Where they bulldoze every year is mostly the side of the "beach" north/east of the bridge, some time in May before Memorial Day Weekend. ...
    This is done by Monte Rio Recreation and Parks, to get the public beach in shape for the summer. People have been using this beach for over a century and it's a good thing. Same thing happens at Johnson's Beach in Guerneville, only that one is private, but open to the public as well.
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  26. TopTop #16
    Shandi's Avatar
    Shandi
     

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    Most of us do make a lot of trash, and people without refrigeration probably make more with pre-packaged and canned foods. I live with 2 people (seniors) who don't even care about recycling. They see me as the Recycling Nazi. I don't talk to them about it; I just take their recyclables out of the trash, rinse them, and put in the recycling container. (or vice versa)

    Some of us are fortunate to be able to buy plastic trash bags, have trash cans, and homes to put them in. Imagine what a mess it would be without them. Actually, when garbage services strike, we get a view of what that looks and "smells" like, although I don't know if it's ever happened in Sonoma County. I've only seen pictures online of cities that were without garbage pick up for weeks.

    We can be thankful for the Garbage Patch kids; it's a very worthwhile project.

    Quote jbox wrote: View Post
    The amount of trash and environmental degradation from these encampments is staggering. If not for the efforts of the Garbage Patch kids all this garbage would have washed into the River last winter.
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  27. TopTop #17
    Shandi's Avatar
    Shandi
     

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    Too bad that bags full of trash can't be accepted in place of a current car sticker, or that people complain about a dog off leash just having fun. After all, most dogs would really prefer to be off leash, so what's the big deal? It's probably because of the leash law, and the fact that some people are fearful of strange dogs because of PTSD or just plain old paranoia that they may get attacked and or bitten. It has happened, even when dog guardians believed that their dog would never bite anyone. Animals aren't all that predictable. Of course, neither are humans....

    Quote beshiva wrote: View Post
    oh the dance we do to save our dear river- the river that gives back to us in so many ways.
    many early mornings my husband and i go down to Sunset beach, walk from the parking lot and head on down with our dogs...while the dogs swim a bit, we've hauled our garbage bags along with us and pick up as much trash as we can on those mornings, butts and all. i always feel better after i see it looking so nice, knowing tomorrow it will have to be done all over again because no matter how many garbage cans are along the path, some people will disrespect our mother earth. i've painfully come to accept this fact. and lots of it still winds up in the river.

    sometimes i feel if i clean it up each morning people will start to get the hang of it and not leave their crap behind-and maybe, it is working---maybe, they are and it could be worse huh.
    and yet, i'll get a complaint, dare say, if my dog is off leash having a little fun, or like the day we hiked back up to the parking lot and had forgotten to put our yearly sticker on our car that morning and got a ticket to pay the parking fee...wtf so after three large garbage bags later from some rip-roaring party probably the day before, this is the thanks the park service gives us...kinda funny really.
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  28. TopTop #18

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    Quote Purplehazel wrote: View Post
    ... I have started a practice of going out every Monday evening during the summer to pick up trash ...
    Thanks for doing this, Purple. Whenever I go to the river--no matter where--there is always trash around and I get a lot of good bending exercise picking it up. And often someone lying on the beach says "Thank you" and I reply "You're welcome and you could pick it up, too." And they frown and turn away. Come on, folks, give it a try.

    Lilith
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  30. TopTop #19

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    Thanks for doing this for our river. You're super!!!

    I always hope that a clean beach will inspire others to leave it that way but it doesn't seem to work that way, does it? I Texas when I was growing up there were signs on the garbage cans that read "Every litter bit helps" and I always remember that. And, if there were a deposit on cigarettes for the butts, maybe that would help.

    Lilith

    Quote beshiva wrote: View Post
    ,,we've hauled our garbage bags along with us and pick up as much trash as we can on those mornings, butts and all. i,,,.
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  31. TopTop #20
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    Quote Purplehazel wrote: View Post
    I made this video (less than 3 minutes) because I believe we need a re-think about what "The River" means to us. Would love to start a dialog...

    Thank you, Purplehazel for bringing this issue up, along with everybody else who commented.

    I reached out to Brenda Adelman of the Russian River Watershed Protection Committee regarding the issue of breaching the mouth of the river and she was kind enough to send the detailed reply below:


    Thank you for contacting me about “The Russian River needs a hug” video. (lovely video, but short of information)

    In response to your email, RRWPC has seldom addressed the general concept of breaching the mouth although we continually say that “Mother Nature should be in charge!” What we have addressed at great length in our mailer letters and Gazette Articles (see website at www.rrwpc.org ) has been the Estuary Management Project as required by the Biological Opinion (put forth by National Marine Fisheries Service or NMFS), released in September, 2008.

    That document requires that Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) manage the estuary between May 15th and October 15th of every year so that when the mouth closes, a channel must be constructed in a way that
    on August 19th this month,
    SCWA will release their EIR
    on the Fish Flow (low flow) project
    which will make permanent the
    requirement that flows
    be lowered PERMANENTLY!
    maintains a fresh water ‘lagoon’ by allowing small amounts of fresh water to be released, while blocking ocean water from getting in. In order to do this, the Biological Opinion, which was never reviewed by the public, or agencies other than those directly affected by it (SCWA, Army Corps of Engineers and State Fish and Wildlife), requires that minimum flows be lowered from 125 cfs in a normal rain year, to as low as 60 cfs in the lower river, for the simple purpose of maximizing the amount of time that the established ‘lagoon’ remains viable. The purpose, as mentioned by a commenter on your website, was to provide rich habitat for juvenile steelhead before they begin their sojourn in the ocean.

    For the last six years, SCWA has appealed to the State Water Board for Temporary Urgency Change Orders, which allowed limitation of flows in the lower river. By referring to this as an emergency, environmental review was not required and the Board granted the Order every one of those years. (While some people submitted comments some of those years and were told they would be responded to, that never happened in a meaningful way and the Orders were quickly granted.) This was in spite of the fact that they were provided a great deal of evidence that the lowering of flows was exacerbating excessive algae, some of it potentially toxic (blue green algae). Toxic algae proliferates in conditions where there is warm water (Guerneville water temperatures average 25 degrees centigrade all summer, a temperature that would be lethal to salmonids if they inhabited the river at that time.) By the way, over the last six years of attempting the project on numerous occasions, it only succeeded once. (Here is link to SCWA site where there is a great deal of information on this: http://www.scwa.ca.gov/russian-river-estuary/ ) The whole Russian River is listed as impaired for excessive temperatures by the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

    Another factor that encourages the growth of toxic algae are excessive levels of the nutrient phosphorus. Part of the requirements of the Biological Opinion is for SCWA to conduct extensive monitoring for numerous perimeters in the lower river. Every one of the tests has come up as too high on Phosphorus. In the meantime, on August 19th this month, SCWA will release their EIR on the Fish Flow (low flow) project which will make permanent the requirement that flows be lowered PERMANENTLY! There will be a 60 day comment period to Oct. 17th, 2016, and a hearing in Board of Supervisors Chambers at 3 pm on Sept. 13th. That will be an extremely important meeting. There will also be a workshop where people can get information on project at the Monte Rio Community Center on August 24th from 4 to 8 pm (not a regular meeting- just a way to get information). Also, I have written an article on this issue for the August Gazette coming out around August 4th. We believe that permanently lowering flows will assure that water quality will suffer and toxic algae may proliferate.

    The Biological Opinion seems to convey the idea that the mouth closes frequently in the summer. Actually we have examined SCWA’s breaching data for the last 20 years and have found that in that time, SCWA data shows there have been only 5 breachings in the month of July during those 20 years, and 2 breaches in the
    The Russian River is a managed river.
    The problem is that it is managed
    much more for the provision of
    water supplies and not so much
    for the environment
    month of August in same time period, a fact that implies few closings. And in fact, those two months, when both recreation and algal blooms are at their highest levels, have the lowest number of breachings over the 20 years. We believe, and SCWA has indicated this at meetings, that the ocean pushes sand up when it is very active and causes the mouth to close. October and November have the highest numbers of breachings at 30 and 36 respectively. This is not true of all estuaries along the coast, but it seems to be true of the larger ones. Nevertheless, it appears that the County believes the required lowering of flows is a done deal. (They virtually said so in the 2015 Urban Water Management Plan when they discussed water availability for their contractors. See Gazette Article.)

    The Russian River is a managed river. The problem is that it is managed much more for the provision of water supplies and not so much for the environment. We need a lot of people to protest this action. People can contact me at email address below. We hope they will get informed and weigh in on the EIR process. If they want to get on my email list, they can drop me a note. I will try to keep everyone up to date. Also, a good contact person at SCWA is Ann Dubay at [email protected] There’s much more to this story; we have been tracking it for about 15 years or more, but I now have to close.

    Brenda

    PS: The recreational dams now have a greatly diminished time period during which they can operate now. Most of the time they are up, the salmonid fish species are not in the water. (not sure about Chinook, but NMFS doesn’t seem as concerned about that species) Also, there are only harbor seals at mouth, not sea lions (There was one sea lion around several years back who badly harassed the harbor seals, but he finally went away and has not been seen for quite a while.)

    --
    Brenda Adelman
    Russian River Watershed Protection Committee
    P.O. Box 501, Guerneville, CA 95446
    Email: [email protected]
    RRWPC Website: www.rrwpc.org
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  33. TopTop #21
    Dan Gurney's Avatar
    Dan Gurney
     

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    Thank you, Brenda. There's a lot that is not well understood—and a great deal still to learn—about how to optimally manage the Russian River, assuming it needs human management at all. I'm glad there's so much interest, and hope more develops. The health of the Russian River is among the most important things for Sonoma County residents to get right.

    At dawn yesterday I was paddling in the estuary near Jenner and saw several young fish (possibly anchovies, I'm not sure) in distress or dead along the southern shore just upstream from Penny Island. Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets were feeding on these little fish and there were about 50 Cormorants in the water feeding on presumably healthier fish in the river. The river's mouth is open now and the water temperature in the estuary is much cooler than the fresh water upstream due to the the cold ocean water mixing with the warmer fresh water.

    I was canoeing (in warm fresh water) from Alexander Valley to Healdburg Friday, 7/29, and saw quite a few (more than 100) medium-sized fish between 6 and 18 inches long. That's a whole lot more fish of that size than I've been seeing this year in the river below Guerneville. I'm not a fisherman, but I take strong interest in fish and am always happy to see them—so I have my eye out for them and for the birds, otters, and seals who do eat them.

    With regard to California Sea Lions in the Russian River Estuary, I've seen Sea Lions in the Russian River Estuary regularly this year. Sea Lions have been outnumbered by the Harbor Seals in the RRE. As you pointed out, Sea Lions were not present in the haul out shown in the short video that got this discussion started.

    Harbor Seals and California Sea Lions don't haul out together as far as I know.

    Here's a photo I took of a Sea Lion swimming in the mouth of the Russian River on May 3 of this year.

    Name:  5:3:16 Sea Lion.jpg
Views: 968
Size:  36.5 KB


    Sea Lions swim more energetically. This one barked a lot in the surf just outside the mouth.

    If you're interested you can read more about my May 3 outing by following this link: Estuarian.

    Best, Dan

    Quote Barry wrote: View Post
    Thank you, Purplehazel for bringing this issue up, along with everybody else who commented.

    I reached out to Brenda Adelman of the Russian River Watershed Protection Committee regarding the issue of breaching the mouth of the river and she was kind enough to send the detailed reply below:...
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  35. TopTop #22
    bullmoose
     

    Re: The Russian River needs a hug - and more...

    In regard to Brenda's comments...just want to thank her but let her know that there are several regular sea lions in the area of the river mouth. They also swim upstream several miles in the river.
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