The Laguna is Sonoma County's richest wildlife area, with more than 200 varieties of birds, and wildlife ranging from bald eagles and mountain lions to river otters and endangered salmon. It is an important stop for birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway.
About the Laguna
Ecology of the Laguna
The Laguna de Santa Rosa is Sonoma County's richest area of wildlife habitat, and the most biologically diverse region of Sonoma County (itself the second-most biologically diverse county in California). The largest tributary of the Russian River, the Laguna drains a 254-square-mile watershed which encompasses nearly the entire Santa Rosa Plain and includes all or part of the cities of Windsor, Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Cotati, Sebastopol and the unincorporated community of Forestville.
The Laguna's 22-mile channel extends from Cotati to its confluence with the River at Forestville, but the Laguna is far more than its main channel. It is a unique ecological system covering more than 30,000 acres and comprised of a mosaic of creeks, open water, perennial marshes, seasonal wetlands, riparian forests, oak woodlands and grasslands. The Laguna is an important stopover for thousands of birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway and is home to a wide variety of life: more than 200 species of birds ranging from bald eagles to hummingbirds, rare and endangered salmon, steelhead, salamanders and plants, mountain lion, bobcat, coyote, mink, badger, and river otter.
In addition to the habitat it provides for wildlife, the Laguna is used for agricultural, recreational and educational purposes. It serves as a natural holding basin during our wet season and as an overflow area for the Russian River during floods, slowing and capturing floodwaters and easing their impact on lower Russian River communities. As the receiving water of a watershed where most of the county's human population lives, it is a landscape feature of critical importance to Sonoma County's water quality, flood control, and biodiversity.