Russian River Mouth Has Been Breached

Tuesday October 15, 2013 Jenner CA.

The river’s mouth is now open so the salmon can come in now

It looked like I was headed down to Jenner again today to get some photos of the Russian River’s mouth being opened.  I’ve seen this before so it wasn’t new to me, but I thought I’d try to document this action with some pictures just for the record.

I arrived just before eleven AM and they were hard at it. I drove down to the overlook just past Jenner on highway one.

This is the view as I arrived at the overlook. An excavator is being used to open up the sand bar to let the river water into the ocean.mouthopening


In this picture, he has mostly dug the cannel to the ocean and has left a small sand dam in the entrance which he will break in just a bit as soon as he is done with the bottom part.mouthopening2


He has now moved back to the entrance and is removing the small sand dam to let the water start down the channel.mouthopening3


He just got the small sand dam out in this one and the water is starting to flow better now.mouthopen


The river water is flowing out to the ocean in this one as can be seen with all the foam out there. Now, any salmon that were waiting out there can come into the river to start the spawning process. they will go up the river somewhere and spawn and die after that.mouthopen2


The mouth usually will open even further as the ocean goes to low tide. This will lower the ocean water way below the river water and this will cause the sand around the area they opened to flow like water and the mouth will then open up real wide. As the channel increases in size the river will dump fairly fast and will likely be down to normal by tomorrow.

I should say no one knows for sure if this will happen as the mouth is fairly unpredictable. If the ocean gets rough, it can push the sand back up into the just opened channel and close it all up again. But it looks like it will open up wide this time.

I noticed there were some merganser ducks resting just below the overlook while this was all going on.mergansers


The excavator has done it’s job and is heading back in, just in front of where the river went out before it closed. They moved the channel more to the north or to the right this time as that is where it usually goes out in the winter. You can’t see the breach in this picture, it’s to the right.escavator2


This is the excavator heading on back after a job well done.escavator


Most people that were watching this operation leave now, but the real excitement can happen later when  the channel blows out at low tide.

I went back to Jenner and put my kayak in the water and headed down to the just opened mouth to see what was going on.

Not much action yet, so I stayed there for awhile and then headed back to Penny Island.

As I went, I saw this goose eating this weed along the shoreline and it didn’t seem to care much about my presence as it gobbled the plant. A nice wild radish plant. Yum.



I went over and checked out the flooded east end of Penny Island and then went up the back channel and up to Eagle’s landing area. Just above Penny Island I spotted this seal on a log. This is one that stays in the river most of the time and seems to follow me around quite a bit, or at least I see it a lot around were I yak.seal


Just past that, as I paddled up the south shore of the river, I spotted these coots, or mud hens. They come here in numbers this time of year. As far as I can tell, they seem to eat all the dead vegetation in the water.coots


I sat around eagle’s landing for awhile before heading back down the river. This time that same seal had another one with itseals


I paddled back to the Jenner launch ramp and took my boat out and went on down to the highway one river overlook at the mouth to check it out one more time today.

This is what a breached sand bar looks like. It will likely still open up some more tonight. It’s low tide in this picture and some sand is starting to flow out to the ocean, which gets washed out of the channel and opens it further.mouthopen3


I went on home just before five PM.

Nice fall day on the Russian River at Jenner.

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