Stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation flows over the land surface into waterways. Impervious surfaces, including pavement, rooftops, or even compacted soil prevents water from soaking into the ground, and increases the runoff volume and velocity created during storms. This in turn causes flooding, exacerbates erosion, threatens aquatic life such as juvenile salmonids, and exacerbates stream channel incision. By keeping water from absorbing into the ground, these impervious surfaces also hinder groundwater recharge.
While stormwater management efforts, and the funding sources that support them, have traditionally focused on urban areas due to their high percentage of impervious surface, some agricultural practices can also promote stormwater runoff, such as severe soil compaction or the construction of tile drainage systems in vineyards and orchards. With flooded roadways plaguing many areas of west Sonoma County, and landowners concerned about groundwater security, the Gold Ridge RCD is currently working to establish a program to begin identifying and implementing projects to attenuate stormwater and enhance groundwater recharge on a large scale.
Landowners can work to contain stormwater on their own properties, contributing to the solution to this large-scale problem, while also working towards their own groundwater security. Property-level solutions are presented in the guide “Slow It. Spread It. Sink It. STORE IT!"
For more information, please contact Noelle Johnson: Noelle@goldridgercd.org or (707) 823-5244.