Stemple Creek Watershed

Stemple Creek Watershed

The Stemple Creek watershed is a sub-watershed of the Bodega Bay watershed, in Marin and Sonoma Counties. It lies approximately 40 miles northwest of San Francisco. Nearby cities include Petaluma, Cotati, and Rohnert Park, all within 5 miles of the eastern end of the watershed, and Santa Rosa, about 10 miles north. The watershed’s area is about 32,980 acres, or 51.5 square miles. Its east-west length is about 14 miles and its north-south dimension ranges from 3 to 6 miles. State Highway 1 crosses the watershed about 4 miles east of its outlet.

Stemple Creek flows westward through the watershed to its estuary, the Estero de San Antonio. The Estero empties into Bodega Bay, a broad indentation in the Pacific Coast. The Estero is an important coastal resource and is included in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

The watershed is characterized by rolling coastal hills, most with slopes of 30 percent or less. Slopes are generally steeper in the western part of the watershed. The hills flanking the creek’s valley on the north and south are higher than those across its eastern end. Elevations range from sea level at the mouth of the Estero, to about 300 feet at the eastern end of the watershed, 700 feet along the northern boundary, and 850 feet along the southern boundary.
Stemple Creek

Watershed Goals and Objectives

The following goals and objectives are taken from the Stemple Creek/Estero de San Antonio Watershed Enhancement Plan (July 1994):

  • Encourage the local community to take the lead in developing and implementing enhancement projects;
  • Assist agricultural producers with practices that promote the conservation and enhancement of natural resources;
  • Reduce pollutants entering Stemple Creek and the Estero;
  • Reduce soil erosion;
  • Encourage environmentally-sound management of rangeland;
  • Conserve and enhance existing natural habitats;
  • Restore the riparian corridor;
  • Develop a long-term monitoring program; and
  • Support agriculture as a major land use in the watershed.

Current Projects and Funding

  • The RCD was awarded funding in April 2012 through a partnership with multiple north coast RCD's, the UC Cooperative Extension, and the Western United Dairymen to assist North Coast dairies with compliance with the upcoming North Coast Dairy Waiver.
Stemple Creek fencing project


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