Mary Callahan, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The Sonoma County Water Agency will start construction next month on a complex, costly project on the Russian River that’s designed to permit migrating fish to travel more safely and efficiently past the seasonal Mirabel Dam in Forestville.
The $12 million project was initiated under a federal mandate to replace a deficient screen system meant to prevent fish from getting hung up in submerged pumps that draw water from the river for filtration and consumer delivery.
But the project has been expanded to include a new, improved fish passageway, as well as a subsurface viewing gallery with expansive windows into the river for more than 3,000 students and other visitors who tour the site each year.
“It’s an opportunity that comes along fleetingly to construct a facility like this, to maximize its benefit and allow public education, which we think is just a critical component of the community understanding our water supply,” said David Manning, environmental resources coordinator for the water agency. “This is a facility that will be on the river for many generations to come.”