by Jenny Blaker, The Community Voice
September 1, 2011
When I came to Cotati in 1996, I was curious about the large ditch behind our house, and soon learned it was actually near the beginning of the Laguna: the largest tributary to the Russian River, the largest freshwater wetlands complex on the northern California coast, and an important wildlife area.
I was puzzled by maps that showed the “Laguna de Santa Rosa Flood Control Channel,” dead straight with angled corners; not at all natural-looking. Was it ever a natural creek, or was it an entirely engineered channel, and when and why was it straightened, and cut into its “trapezoidal” shape?
My curiosity and interest led me to a class on “Watershed Ecology & Restoration” at Santa Rosa Junior College in 2003. Wade Belew, now Stewardship Coordinator of Cotati Creek Critters, was there too, also because of his interest in this section of the Laguna.
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