• Big Rick Stuart

Mouth of Russian River open after Sonoma County digs beach channel to prevent flooding

The sand-blocked mouth of the Russian River has opened after Sonoma County staff on Tuesday dug a beach channel to release water from the river estuary to the ocean, according to Sonoma Water spokesman Barry Dugan.

Sonoma Water, the county water agency, sent a heavy equipment operator to dig the trench aimed at preventing the river from spilling into the town of Jenner amid extremely high tides and heavy surf.

Staff completed the artificial breach at around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, and water levels in the lagoon began to decline by that night, Dugan said. At its peak, the river’s surface swelled to a height of over 9 feet at the nearby Highway 1 bridge.

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