Navarro River Water Trail Study
The Navarro River is the key natural resource of the Anderson Valley. The quality of life for residents in the Valley and increasingly the economic benefits of tourism are related to the conservation of the river’s resources. The Navarro River from its origin just upstream from Hendy Woods State Park to the Pacific Ocean is about 28 miles, offering opportunities for continuous boating of varying challenge levels and at different seasons of the year, as well as fishing, swimming, and wildlife observation experiences.
There are no existing developed river access facilities, yet use of the waterway continues to grow. The Navarro River is well-known to be used for boating by the general public. However, all information about that use is anecdotal. The public’s knowledge of boating within the watershed lacks information about the natural resources and hydrologic dynamics of the Navarro River, where to access it, ownership patterns around the river, and general safety and responsible use to steward the river’s resources.
Between 2010 and 2012, the Anderson Valley Land Trust, supported with a a technical assistance grant from the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program studied the river and how the public uses it. While the grant involved no finances (technical assistance only) the Park Service staff worked diligently with the AVLT, guiding our volunteers in establishing protocols for surveys, collecting baseline information, and working with the community. Other partners who are supported the study include:
- California State Parks, Mendocino District
- Mendocino County Board of Supervisors
- Anderson Valley Community Services District
- Anderson Valley Volunteer Firefighters Association
- Mendocino Redwoods Company
- Navarro-by-the-Sea Center for Estuarine Research
As part of the Water Trail Assessment program, during the Summer of 2011, on behalf of the Anderson Valley Community Services District with funding from the California Department of Boating and Waterways the AVLT conducted a summer observational use survey to collect information on types and levels of river-related summer recreation use along the river from Hendy Woods State Park downstream.
The purpose of the assessment was to determine the practicality of designating all or a portion of the Navarro River between Hendy Woods State Park and its mouth at Navarro Beach within the Navarro River Redwoods State Park as a recreational water trail and to develop, operate, and maintain river access facilities and information programs to facilitate safe and respectful use of the river for nonmotorized boating. The purposes and benefits of such a designation would include:
- public safety
- resource stewardship of the river corridor (by educating the public)
- recognition / respect for private property (by educating the public)
- enhanced recreation opportunities for Valley residents and visitors
- community / economic benefits through expanded tourism
The final report and recommendations may be downloaded here: Navarro River Water Trail Assessment
Navarro River, 2011 Summer Season Boating Survey • Navarro River Water Trail Assessment
During the Summer of 2011, the Anderson Valley Land Trust conducted a summer observational use survey to collect information on types and levels of river-related summer recreation use within the study area. This survey was conducted by the Anderson Valley Land Trust for the Anderson Valley Community Services District with funding from the California Department of Boating and Waterways.
For survey purposes, the study area was defined as the Navarro River from Hendy Woods State Park downstream to its mouth at Navarro Beach within the Navarro River Redwoods State Park. The survey was conducted at five locations:
Hendy Woods State Park – Day Use Area
Philo-Greenwood Road Bridge – Philo Beach
Navarro River Redwoods State Park – Paul M. Dimmick Campground – Beach
Navarro River Redwoods State Park – Iron Bridge Site (sometimes called the Big Hole)
Navarro River Redwoods State Park – Navarro Beach
Navarro River Watershed Plan
AVLT completed the Navarro River Restoration Plan in 1998 with grant funding from the California Coastal Conservancy and funding through the State Water Resources Control Board. This research document provided a comprehensive scientific baseline on the status of the Navarro River system and recommendations to improve water quality and stream habitat within the 300-square mile watershed. With the Watershed Plan in place, major funding has come to the watershed for restoration projects that continue today.
The Confluence Project
One of our current focuses is working with property owners to protect the riparian corridor at the headwaters of the Navarro River, where Rancheria Creek, Anderson Creek, and Indian Creek join.