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Regional Map / Russian River Watershed

Dry Creek Valley

Dry Creek Map

Dry Creek Valley lies directly west of and parallel to the Alexander Valley. The valley is flanked by forested mountains. Dry Creek defines the valley and was once a seasonal creek with little flow in the summer. In 1986 the Warm Springs Dam was constructed on Dry Creek, creating Lake Sonoma, one of the largest reservoirs in the state at 381,000 acre-feet of storage. Lake Sonoma provides only urban water supply and releases flow year-round, changing the ecology of Dry Creek. Like Lake Mendocino, Lake Sonoma impounds both water and bedload (cobble and gravel) and, combined with industrial gravel mining carried out in the 1970s, has caused Dry Creek to entrench, or downcut, into its floodplain. Many of the tributaries to Dry Creek are significantly entrenched with actively eroding stream banks and riparian corridors. Tributaries to Dry Creek include: Wine, Dutcher, Peña, Grape, Fall, Schoolhouse, and Crane Creeks. Several of these tributaries support small populations of endangered Coho salmon.

Dry Creek Valley has been a grapegrowing area since the 1800s.

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Dry Creek with summer water release from Warm Springs dam
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Grape harvest in 1900 in Dry Creek Valley
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Hop kiln in Dry Creek Valley in 1870

 

Certified Sites:

Enrolled Sites:


Certified

Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery—Estate Vineyard, Beckman Ranch, and Keegan Ranch
Ferrari-Carano’s 50-acre Estate Vineyard, certified in 2005, borders both Dry Creek and Dutcher Creek where revegetation projects are ongoing. The Beckman and Keegan ranches, totaling over 100 acres, were certified in 2008 and are managed to protect soil using cover crops. An invasive plant eradication program is underway to remove Himalayan blackberry, blue periwinkle, and Arundo donax from Dry Creek and re-plant with native plant species to increase wildlife habitat. Visit www.ferrari-carano.com.

Other Ferrari-Carano sites: Magnolia Ranch and Storey Ranch in the Russian River Valley section; Upper and Lower Hocking Ranches, Stang Ranch in the Alexander Valley section

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Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery completed
a restoration project on Dutcher Creek

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Michel-Schlumberger Winery Home Ranch
This 90-acre site borders Wine Creek. Winemaker Michael Brunson has overseen the FFF certification process and is implementing a riparian revegetation and invasive non-native plant control project on Wine Creek. The vineyards are farmed organically. Visit www.michelschlumberger.com.

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Vineyards and pond at Michel Schlumberger winery in Dry Creek Valley

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Polesky-Lentz Vineyard—Herbert’s Ranch and Lentz Ranch
Susan Lentz and Herbert Polesky have lived and farmed in Dry Creek Valley since 1993. Herbert’s Ranch, 20 acres, borders Dry Creek and has completed an invasive plant removal and riparian revegetation project as part of the farm plan. Lentz Ranch is a 40-acre hillside vineyard managed for soil conservation and water quality improvements.

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Terraces of the Lentz Ranch

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Preston of Dry Creek
Lou Preston and his family farm their 110 acres of vineyards along Peña Creek using organic and biodynamic methods. A riparian revegetation project and an erosion control project were completed as part of their Fish Friendly Farming certification. Visit www.prestonvineyards.com.

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Quivira Vineyards & Winery
This site encompasses 90 acres of floodplain lands adjacent to Wine Creek and Dry Creek. Vineyards are managed by winemaker Steven Canter using organic and biodynamic methods. This stretch of Wine Creek supports Coho salmon but due to channel entrenchment moving upstream from Dry Creek, the creek is also significantly degraded with eroding stream banks and undercut and dying riparian forest. As part of their FFF farm plan, Quivira Winery will be completing a project to widen and revegetate the Wine Creek riparian corridor to address these issues. Visit www.quivirawine.com.

Wine Creek Restoration Challenges Slideshow

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Confluence of Wine Creek and Dry Creek
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Incision in Wine Creek has eroded the bed and banks, exposing the roots of trees and causing them to die

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Ridge Vineyards—Lytton Estate East Ranch
This 50-acre site is situated on the rolling hills between Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley. A number of creeks dissect the site. Vineyard manager David Gates uses cover crops and low chemical input on the vineyards to protect water quality in these creeks. As part of their farm plan, Ridge Vineyards will be working with the FFF program to complete a revegetation plan for several of the creeks. In 2003, Ridge Vineyards was recognized with an award from FFF for Excellence in Water Quality Improvement and Protection. Visit www.ridgewine.com

Other Ridge Vineyard sites: Ridge Vineyards—Fredson Ranch, Whitton Ranch, and Lytton Estate West Ranch

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Enrolled

Bevill Family Trust
This 8-acre vineyard is managed by owner Duff Bevill with cover crops to protect soil and water quality in nearby Dry Creek.

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