. Banner Image by Jerry Dodrill

Restoration Projects

We have the opportunity to decide as a community to restore the Laguna together. We hope you will be as inspired by the Laguna as we are and become involved.

A Starting Point - Laguna Restoration & Management Plan

The Foundation has completed the Laguna Ecosystem Restoration & Management Plan which frames the Foundation’s vision and provides a "blueprint" for improving the Laguna’s ecological function and wildlife habitat. In 2007 we began fine-tuning and implementing the plan.

Healthy Streams And Riparian Forests - Preparing For Climate Change

The consensus of Bay Area scientists and environmental experts at the 2009 State of the Laguna Conference was that enhancing the function of our creeks and waterways and restoring riparian forests throughout Sonoma County is one of the most important things we can do to minimize the predicted impacts of climate change and the associated increase in floods, droughts and species extinctions. We now know that restoring the Laguna is not just something we would like to do, it is something we must do! Restoring riparian forests along the Laguna and Sonoma County creek channels will help decrease erosion, increase water quality, and enhance habitat connectivity to facilitate wildlife movement under changing conditions.

Why We Are Restoring Oak Woodlands

The Laguna de Santa Rosa, like most areas of California, has lost a very large percentage of its oak woodlands and the benefits they provide. Oaks are a keystone species in the Laguna, offering wildlife nesting, feeding, hiding and hunting sites. They also host the largest species diversity of any habitat in California. At least 100 bird species use oaks for food and domicile, and mammals use oak habitat for shelter and food. More than 80 species of reptiles and amphibians are found in oak communities, many using the rich leaf litter to stay concealed or find prey.

A typical valley oak lives about 300 years. They take up to 50 years to reach reproductive maturity, and slowly die over the last 100 years of their life. Many of the oaks in the Laguna are in their last 100 years, but alterations in flood regimes and surrounding land uses have limited their reproduction. The result is hundreds of majestic old trees dying without offspring. If we want oaks in the future, we must plant more now.

Oaks are effective "carbon sinks" because they have a long life-span, grow large, and each tree can produce many more trees with acorns which are transported by birds, mammals and floodwater to new locations. Oak woodlands slow floodwaters, and their root systems help recharge groundwater. As a result, planting oaks is a way to mitigate climate change.

The Big Ludwigia Problem We Need To Solve

A serious mosquito abatement challenge and threat to wildlife habitat is posed by the non-native invasive water primrose, also known as Ludwigia. This aquatic plant, which originates from South America, grows mainly along shallow areas of the Laguna’s main channel and tributary creeks. Large mats of this plant pose a barrier to migrating steelhead and other fish, and its bacterial decomposition threatens oxygen-dependent wildlife in the water. The Foundation is working with USDA-ARS researchers and local agencies to find a long-term solution to the problem.

Sourcing Plants

The Laguna Foundationís Native Plant Nursery grows thousands of locally sourced trees, shrubs, and herbaceous perennial plants for restoration projects within the Laguna de Santa Rosa Watershed and beyond. The nursery was originally built in the early 2000s by volunteers using scrap wood and donated items. Through a partnership with the California Native Plant Societyís Milo Baker Chapter, the nursery's transformation into the state-of-the-art plant propagation center it is today. While we continue to grow plants for our restoration projects and for CNPS plant sales, we also now grow plants for other meaningful projects on a contract basis throughout the watershed. We are open to the public by appointment and during plant sales in May and October each year. Our nursery is certified by the Accreditation to Improve Restoration (AIR) program through improving our Nursery Best Management Practices (NBMPs) to exclude Phytophthora;from nursery plants. Phytophthora species are soil borne plant pathogens that cause root rot diseases such as Sudden Oak Death (SOD). Find out more on our Native Plant Nursery webage.

Our Restoration Projects in the News

Right here in our own plant nursery! Find out more from our Ecological Programs Manager, Brent Reed.

Video: "Laguna Foundation, Plant Nursery" by Nick Dunlap

North Bay Bountiful: Groundwater
March 2018
KRCB TV, Channel 22

Wetlands Restoration IS working in the Laguna de Santa Rosa
March 2018
San Francisco Bay Joint Venture


For more information, contact Sarah Gordon, Conservation Science Program Manager
by email at Sarah@LagunaFoundation.org

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