'Violet Pink Sunset' ~ D'Gravure™ Etching, Copyright © 2007-2010 Cynthe Brush

Our local natural flood plain ~ The Laguna de Santa Rosa ~ part of the Russian River watershed is world renown, so I learned yesterday from a local creeks management employee. A valuable wetlands ecosystem, the Laguna serves to catch excess water from back-to-back seasonal rainstorms that drench Sonoma county every few winters, usually in January.

A fellow Nikon photographer and nature lover, this friendly man told me there’s been a concerted effort over the years to restore the Laguna to its natural ecology…rectifying more than a century of ecologically destructive practices including controlled burns to clear vegetation by native Americans ~ Southern Pomo and Coast Miwok people, who lived sustainably in the Laguna for at least 10,000 years ~ followed by the arrival of Europeans in the second half of the 19th century. Restoration efforts have the Laguna de Santa Rosa eco-system back to its 1979 condition. Progress is being made….slowly.

'Flooded Laguna de Santa Rosa Oaks' D'Gravure Etching ~ Copyright © 2004-2010 Cynthe Brush

Many residents living in the Laguna watershed in the communities of Cotati, Rohnert Park, Forestville, Graton, Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, & Windsor, take the Laguna for granted. We may realize it catches floodwaters, spilling over local low-lying roadways and occasionally creeping into adjacent buildings near the outer edges of the floodplains…but we don’t necessarily take personal responsibility for keeping its waters unpolluted, as we need to.

Our storm drain system runs right into the Laguna via 100’s of creeks that run through Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, and surrounding areas. Any pollutants on our streets, business lots, farms, vineyards, driveways & yards pour into the Laguna when it rains. Some of the major offenders are: motor oil, gasoline, paint & painting equipment wash water residue, animal refuse, farm, vineyard, garden & yard pesticides, and soap suds from washing cars in the driveway.

'Rosy Laguna Eve' ~ D'Gravure™ Etching, Copyright © 2004-2010 Cynthe Brush

WHY we should care?
It’s wildlife wonderland with 200 species of birds, including bald eagle, osprey and white pelican. Terrestrial and aquatic creatures include river otter, bobcat, coyote, mink, badger, and two federally listed endangered fish ~ the coho salmon and steelhead trout. Plus, the Laguna provides an important stopover for thousands of birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway. And keeps our communities from drowning in Russian River floodwaters.

Learn more in Part Two of this article.

WED ~ Jan 20, 2010
Annual rainfall averages for this date in our area have gone from 74% to 88% overnight! Storm, after rainstorm, rolling across from the Pacific Ocean… Fortunately, with small breaks in between storms, flooding is minimal, but still a nuisance for commuters. The Laguna de Santa Rosa, which catches floodwater overflow from the Russian River looks like a lake. All the usual low-lying roads & fields are under water: flooding has closed Daywalt Road, Green Valley Road (just drove through there on Sunday…thinking it would flood soon), Mark West Station Road, Todd Road, & Valley Ford-Freestone Road.

Flooded Laguna de Santa Rosa ~ D'Gravure™ Etching, Copyright © 2004-2010 Cynthe Brush

The Laguna’s flood plain catches the rainwater that swells our local creeks as they drain the hillsides. Although this looks like a ‘snow scene’ it’s actually the Laguna flood plain full of water. The oaks’ roots are submerged. Totally transforms the area. The Laguna is SO picturesque filled with flood waters.

'Watery Sentinel' ~ D'Gravure™ Etching, Copyright © 2004-2010 Cynthe Brush

FRI ~ Jan 22, 2010
This afternoon was VERY social at the Laguna. Folks, photographers & birds (robins, tall elegant great & dainty snowy egrets, ducks, geese, raptors & song birds) were flocking round.

Photographers appreciate each other’s need to capture the fleeting moment. Got a wave from one fellow photographing flooded Sanford Road a bit before the turn at the Occidental Road intersection. Another man was out with his Nikon and a fixed focus 50mm lens. He admired my Nikon D5000 dSLR my sister so generously gifted me last year. We enjoyed strategizing about how to photograph the dancing raindrops sparkling on the water’s surface, while shooting straight into the brilliant winter sun. He got the shot. The rain spritz stopped before I got mine.

1-20-10 A lone tree submerged in Laguna de Santa Rosa flood waters, seen from Occidental Road ~ Copyright © 2010 Cynthe Brush

A woman running late to class, stopped to look at the beauty mirrored on the Laguna’s watery surface. Didn’t have a camera, so she asked if I’d be willing to take a photo of an oak reflected in perfect symmetry on the surface. And to email her the image, so she could share it with her hubby and family that evening. I did.

Laguna de Santa Rosa fans, and those who are curious, I’ve posted several images of the Laguna from other seasons of the year….so you can get an idea of how much water is flooding it right now.

To the left (above) is my digital photo etching ‘Watery Sentinel’ I created of a picturesque tree from the Spring of 2004, when the water was lower. Note the creek running in back and the fence post in the flooded foreground.

Here’s the same lone tree in the Laguna de Santa Rosa flood plain photographed this week on Thursday at dusk under gray skies. The fence pole is completely submerged by murky mud-filled water.

'Line of Laguna Oaks' ~ D'Gravure™ Etching, Copyright © 2006-2010 Cynthe Brush

Only a short 4 miles from our home, the Laguna is a lovely place to go to clear one’s head of daily responsibilities and to reconnect with ourselves and the nature of things. So, if you live locally, are visiting, or driving though the area…do take some time to enjoy the Laguna’s unique offerings.

*   *   *
All D’Gravure Etchings and photographs may be purchased by emailing the artist: Cynthe@SpringMoonFineArtPrints.com.  Check these links for information on sizes & pricing or art print care.



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This entry was posted on Saturday, January 23rd, 2010 at 10:00 am and is filed under artistic inspiration, California landscapes, d'gravure digital photo etchings, digital photographic artists, northern california women artists, Sonoma county artists, Sonoma county landscapes, women artist blogs on wordpress. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

1 Comment so far


  1. Cynthe on January 26, 2010 10:34 pm

    Dad & Mom ~ Glad you two came to visit. Gives me the illusion that we live closer….rather than on opposite sides of the continent. Love you!

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