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Regional Map / Russian River Watershed

Lower Russian River Canyon

Lower Russian River Valley Map

The last 25 miles of the Russian River wind from the Wohler Narrows through a rock-bound forested canyon to the Pacific Ocean. The towns of Guerneville and Monte Rio lie in this canyon and are well-known for floods. Vineyards and orchards occupy the few flat areas along the river that are not developed for residences. Before settlement by early pioneers, the Russian River canyon and its tributaries held some of the largest redwood trees. Many were cut down from the 1860s to 1880s to build houses in San Francisco and other surrounding areas. River Road was once a logging railroad, then a tourist line as the lumber mills closed in the late 1800s and vacation resorts were developed. Today, the lower river canyon is a popular tourist destination with a year-round residential population and a few farms. Tributary creeks include: lower Green Valley, Hobson, Fife, Hulbert, Dutch Bill, Freezeout, Austin, Willow, and Sheephouse Creeks.

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The steep canyon of the Lower Russian River

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Fun at Guernewood beach in 1911
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1879 flood
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Homestead north of Cazadero
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Early logging
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1986 flood
 

 

Certified Sites:

Enrolled Sites:

  • St. Mark’s Vineyard
  • Korbel Vineyards

 

 


Certified

Williams Selyem Winery—Drake Estate Vineyard
This 35-acre vineyard located adjacent to the Russian River in Guerneville was an apple orchard owned and farmed by Roscoe Drake for many decades. In 1999, William Selyem developed the site as a vineyard. Cover crops are used to protect soil and the vineyard manager works with adjacent residential neighbors to define sustainable practices acceptable to everyone. The property protects a wide swath of redwood and riparian forest along the river. Visit www.williams-selyem.com.

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Summerhome Park Vineyard
This 46-acre site includes a large redwood riparian forest with an infestation of invasive non-native blue periwinkle and Himalayan blackberry. Working with the Fish Friendly Farming program, a project eradicating these species and restoring native habitat including some additional riparian forest areas to support nesting songbirds is being implemented in 2009-2010.

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Invasive nonnative plants will be removed from the riparian
corridor at the Summerhome park vineyard

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