Regional Map / Russian River Watershed

Russian River Valley

Russian River Valley Map

The Russian River Valley extends from Healdsburg to the Wohler Narrows, a set of large rocks which mark the entrance to the lower river canyon. This eight-mile long valley has been an agricultural area for many years, supporting hops, orchards, and vineyards. Winegrapes are the primary crop now.

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The Russian River channel in this valley has undergone significant alteration due to deep pit-mining in the 1970s. A vast amount of gravel and cobble has been removed, resulting in the river channel bottom dropping 22 feet. This significant environmental impact continues to affect aquatic habitat, riparian forest, and tributary streams. Tributary creeks include West Slough, Lower Windsor, Pool, Pistol, Dry, Lower Mark West, Storey, and Porter Creeks.


View of the Wohler Narrows looking upstream along the Russian River

Prunes drying in the sun at the Hotchkiss ranch on Eastside Road in 1900

A hop kiln in the Russian River Valley in the late 1800s


A family of hop pickers in 1912


This winter photo of the Russian River valley shows the former channels of the river and creeks

Canoeists in the Russian River Valley. Note the tall vertical eroding banks.



Certified Sites:


Enrolled Sites:


Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery—Magnolia Ranch and Storey Creek Ranch
Magnolia Ranch occupies 38 acres between West Slough and the Russian River. Channelization of the Russian River and urbanization elsewhere in the watershed is impacting West Slough, creating bank erosion and channel incision. These impacts are being addressed on the site by revegetating the banks with native tree species. The 129-acre Storey Ranch straddles Storey Creek where revegetation projects are ongoing to increase wildlife habitat. In 2003, Ferrari-Carano received an FFF award for Exceptional Actions and Dedication to Environmental Conservation. Visit

Other Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery sites:
Estate Vineyard, Beckman Ranch, and Keegan Ranch in the Dry Creek Valley section
Upper and Lower Hocking Ranches, Stang Ranch in the Alexander Valley section


Storey Creek borders vineyards

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HKG Estate Wines—Hop Kiln Vineyard, Sweetwater Springs;
The historic Walters Ranch Hop Kiln stands as a symbol of the care, quality, craftsmanship and longevity that goes into every bottle of HKG Estate Wine. The Hop Kiln also serves as our Tasting Room and Marketplace. This structure served the important hop industry of California's north coast region, once the major hop-growing area in the west. Built in 1905 by a crew of Italian stonemasons, it represents the finest existing example of its type. The building consists of three stone kilns for drying hops and an attached wooden cooling barn with a two-story press for baling hops. California Registered Historical Landmark No 893 Visit


Pool in Upper Pistol Creek


Vineyards at Hopkiln Winery with riparian corridor of Russian river in the distance

This 250-acre site includes a large riparian forest and upstream creek area protected by a conservation easement. The channel incision in the main Russian River has significantly affected Pistol Creek on this site and required a major restoration project following the January 1, 2006 flood. Pistol Creek Slideshow

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Lone Redwood Ranch
This 60-acre site borders Mark West Creek. Lone Redwood Ranch is owned by Jay and Jean McMullen, descendants of the Laughlin family, early pioneers in Sonoma County. The riparian corridor along Mark West Creek is diverse and supports pipevine swallowtail butterflies as well as the lone redwood after which the ranch is named.

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The riparian corridor along Mark West Creek is diverse and supports pipevine swallowtail butterflies.

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Richard’s Grove and Saralee’s Vineyard—Trenton Station and Slusser Road Ranches
The Trenton Station Ranch straddles Trenton Road and includes several creeks. As part of their Fish Friendly Farming farm plan, owners Rich and Saralee Kunde have eradicated invasive, non-native blue periwinkle and Himalayan blackberry from riparian corridors and re-planted with native plants to increase wildlife habitat. The Slusser Road Ranch borders Mark West Creek where banks are planted with willow to reduce erosion. Visit

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Richard’s Grove and Saralee’s Vineyard—Catie’s Corner
This 37-acre site encompasses a creek and grassland. Visit


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