Dry Creek Valley


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.