The Laguna de Santa Rosa is an expansive freshwater wetland complex that hosts a rich diversity of plant and wildlife species, and is also home to a thriving agricultural community. Since the mid-19th century, modifications to the Laguna and its surrounding landscape have degraded habitat conditions for both wildlife and people. Together with partners at the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, and funded by Sonoma Water and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the goal of the Laguna de Santa Rosa Master Restoration Plan project is to develop a plan that supports ecosystem services in the Laguna—through the restoration and enhancement of landscape processes that form and sustain habitats and improve water quality—while considering flood management issues and the productivity of agricultural lands.
The first phase of the project was the creation of the Restoration Vision for the Laguna de Santa Rosa. The report details a long-term vision for the landscape which highlights opportunities for multi-benefit habitat restoration and land management within the Laguna’s 100-year floodplain. It presents an understanding of the landscape functioning from past, present, and potential future perspectives. Starting with a picture of the historical ecology of the Laguna that details the magnitude of change in habitat conditions over the past two centuries, the document then presents an understanding of key physical processes that affect today’s Laguna. The restoration concepts described in the Vision represent a potential future Laguna, and were developed and vetted through a series of workshops in which technical advisers, management advisers, tribal representatives, and local landowners and stakeholders shared their expertise and helped shape the concepts.
The second phase of this project was the development of a Restoration Plan for the Laguna de Santa Rosa that was built from the Vision. The Restoration Plan was developed through a collaborative process that focused on moving forward identified restoration opportunities into conceptual designs that can be used to establish implementable restoration projects. The Restoration Plan includes the following elements:
- A restoration framework that offers a planning structure for landscape scale restoration that can be further developed and refined over time.
- Restoration project concepts in the Laguna’s 100-year floodplain developed from selected restoration opportunity areas shown in the Vision.
- Criteria for prioritizing and sequencing restoration project concepts.
The utilization of the Restoration Plan and the ultimate success of restoration efforts in the Laguna will require local landowner support and adequate funding to implement the restoration and manage and sustain the benefits through long-term stewardship. It will also require coordination among all the agencies responsible for managing the land and water within the Laguna and its surrounding watershed. With commitment and collaboration the Laguna community is well on its way toward a reconciled Laguna landscape that supports desired ecosystem functions for people and wildlife.
2018 to 2023
Programs and Focus Areas:
Resilient Landscapes Program
Watershed Science & Management