Russian River (California): Wikis


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Russian River
The Russian River downstream of Duncans Mills
Country United States
State California
Region Sonoma and Mendocino counties
 - left Mark West Creek, Maacama Creek, Green Valley Creek, Big Sulphur Creek
 - right Dry Creek, Austin Creek
Cities Ukiah, Healdsburg
Source Laughlin Range
 - location 5 mi (8 km) east of Willits, California
 - elevation 1,960 ft (597 m) [1]
 - coordinates 39°23′0″N 123°14′18″W / 39.383333°N 123.23833°W / 39.383333; -123.23833 [2]
Mouth Pacific Ocean
 - location Jenner, California
 - elevation ft (0 m)
 - coordinates 38°27′2″N 123°7′46″W / 38.45056°N 123.12944°W / 38.45056; -123.12944 [2]
Length 100 mi (161 km) [3]
Basin 1,485 sq mi (3,846 km2) [4]
Discharge for near Healdsburg, California [5]
 - average 1,430 cu ft/s (40.5 m3/s)
 - max 69,300 cu ft/s (1,962.4 m3/s)
 - min 12 cu ft/s (0.3 m3/s)
The mouth of the Russian River, north of San Francisco
For other uses, see Russian River.

The Russian River is a southward-flowing river in the Northern California counties of Mendocino and Sonoma.



The Russian River springs from the Laughlin Range about 5 mi (8 km) east of Willits in Mendocino County. It flows generally southward to Redwood Valley, then parallels U.S. Route 101 past Calpella, to join the East Fork Russian River just below Lake Mendocino.

From there the Russian River flows south, past Ukiah and Hopland, and crosses into Sonoma County just north of Cloverdale. Closely paralleled by U.S. Route 101, it descends into the Alexander Valley, where it is joined by Big Sulphur Creek. It flows south past Cloverdale, Asti, and Geyserville.

East of Healdsburg, Maacama Creek joins the Russian River. After a series of sweeping bends, the river flows under U.S. Route 101 and receives water from Lake Sonoma via Dry Creek. The river then turns westward and joins Mark West Creek north of Forestville. The river passes Rio Dell, Rio Nido, and Guerneville, where it meets State Route 116. Paralleled by State Route 116, it continues past Guernewood Park and Monte Rio. Austin Creek enters from the north before passing through Duncans Mills then the Russian River flows under State Route 1 and empties into the Pacific Ocean between Jenner and Goat Rock Beach. Its mouth is about 60 mi (100 km) north of the San Francisco Bay's Golden Gate.

The lower Russian River is a popular spring, summer, and fall destination for tourists as the river is very safe then for swimming and boating, with a gentle current. The river is dangerous in the winter, with swift current and muddy water.


The river was originally known among the Southern Pomo as Ashokawna (ʔaš:oʔkʰawna), "east water place" or "water to the east"[6], and as Bidapte, "big river".[7] An 1843 Spanish land grant referred to it as Rio Grande.[8]

The river takes its current name from the Russian trappers who explored the river in the early 19th century, and established their Fort Ross trade colony 10 mi (16 km) northwest of its mouth. They called it the Slavyanka River. The redwoods that lined its banks drew loggers to the river in the late 19th century.

According to the USGS, variant names of the Russian River include: Misallaako, Rio Ruso, Shabaikai, Slavianka, and Slavyanka.[2]

River modifications

A portion of the Eel River is diverted to headwaters of the Russian River in Potter Valley. The Sonoma County Water Agency draws drinking water from the Russian River for sale to over 540,000 residents of Sonoma County, Mendocino County, and northern Marin County.[9] Santa Rosa's Laguna Wastewater Treatment Plant treats sewage from several communities to tertiary standards and returns some of it to the river by way of the Laguna de Santa Rosa.

Russian River Valley

Its floodplain includes many vineyards, and an area of the Russian River Valley was approved as an American Viticultural Area in 1983 and enlarged in 2006[10]. It produces award-winning Chardonnay and pinot noir wines in addition to other wine varietals, and is home to many small and several large commercial wineries.

See also


  1. ^ Google Earth elevation for source coordinates
  2. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographical Names Information System: Russian River
  3. ^ Russian River, The Columbia Gazetteer of North America
  4. ^ "Water Supply". Retrieved 2008-04-07.  
  5. ^ Water Resources Data—California, Water Year 2004, Volume 2
  6. ^ Oswalt, Robert (1981). Southern Pomo Word List and Map of Native Place Names in the Warm Springs Dam Area. San Francisco, CA: US Army Corps of Engineers.  
  7. ^ Oswalt, Robert; Peri, David W.; Fredrickson, Vera-Mae (1979). Language Study. San Francisco, CA: US Army Corps of Engineers.  
  8. ^ Praetzellis, Mary; Praetzellis, Adrian; Stewart, Suzanne B. (1985). "Before Warm Springs Dam: A History of the Lake Sonoma Area". US Army Corps of Engineers. pp. 28. Retrieved 2008-11-14.  
  9. ^ "Sonoma County Water Agency Structure".  
  10. ^ Russian River Valley Winegrowers Association

External links



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