Storm Water

The City’s owns and maintains a storm drain system that discharges into local creeks which ultimately goes into the Russian River. Under the Federal Clean Water Act and State and local regulations, the City and its businesses and residents are to protect and enhance the water quality of watercourses by reducing pollutants in storm water discharges to the maximum extent practicable and by prohibiting non storm water discharges to the storm drain system.

Report Non-Storm Water Discharges
During Business Hours: (707) 665-3638
After Hours: (707) 792-4611

Streets to Creeks

Do you recognize this creek? Is it near your home? It is the Laguna De Santa Rosa!! We have a new look for our storm water logo and great information for the residents in Cotati and Sonoma County!
Storm drains connect the streets to creeks! To help residents like
yourself get more familiar with how the storm drains at your home flows directly into our beautiful creeks, see below how simple tasks you do can improve the vitality and health of those creeks. Our creeks are Ours to Protect. Some of the biggest things you can do to help protect Cotati’s creeks is practice these simple tasks:

  • Pet Waste - Scoop the poop! On a walk, at the dog park, and in your backyard- that’s important too! Sure it’s the neighborly thing to do, but did you know that pet waste contains bacteria? If it’s not scooped and disposed of properly water can carry the bacteria into a nearby storm drain that flows into your neighborhood creek and
    potentially harm local fish species.
  • Yard Care - Timing is everything. Check the weather and your watering schedule. Runoff from rain and irrigation can wash chlorine, excess fertilizer, herbicides, compost and leaf debris into the storm drain. This material can clog the storm drain system and
    have a negative impact on your neighborhood creek.
  • Car Washing - If you’re able to, take your car to your local car wash. Treat yourself and protect the environment at the same time! Professional car washes are prepared and capture and treat or recycle wash water. If you wash at home, divert water to where it
    can soak into the ground, like your front lawn! Use a bucket and empty your soapy wash water into your sink, not the storm drain. Detergents and soaps from your wash water that make their way down the gutter into the storm drain end up in the creek and can
    harm aquatic vegetation and wildlife.
  • Trash - Lend a hand, and pick it up! Wind and water can carry trash from the street, into a nearby storm drain. This trash then continues to travel from the creek, into the Russian River, and finally ending up in the ocean; harming local wildlife or polluting our local swimming holes.

Storm Drains Connect Streets to Creeks and they are Ours to Protect. Check out the new website at:

Storm Water Protection Business Assistance Program

The City of Cotati has partnered with Russian River Watershed Association (RRWA) to provide business with information regarding common pollutants and the activities that can potentially release them into the environment. This information can be found at this link: Common Pollutants Guide and Commercial Best Management Practices.

The Public Works Department is available to assist anyone that has questions about the cities storm water system and storm water permit requirements contact the Public Works Department at (707) 665-4238 or emailing us at [email protected].

New Development Storm Water Requirements

The City shares the same NPDES Storm Water Permit with the cities of Santa Rosa, Cloverdale, Healdsburg, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Ukiah, the Town of Windsor, the County of Sonoma, and the Sonoma County Water Agency. These agencies have developed similar policies, procedures and guidelines in implementing their respective Storm Water Programs. Two such guide documents are the Low Impact Development Technical Design Manual and the Sonoma Water Flood Management Design.  These manuals are to be followed by developments to comply with the City’s Storm Water NPDES Permit and to be consistent with hydrologic analysis and flood design approaches and methods for the this region. 

Russian River Watershed Association

The City of Cotati is a member of the Russian River Watershed Association, which is an association of cities, the Sonoma County Water Agency, and the County of Sonoma for the betterment of water quality in the Russian River Watershed.

RRWA Website

High School Water Awareness Video Contest

The Russian River Watershed Association sponsors a video contest for high school students in honor of Water Awareness Month. Cash awards are split between the students who create the winning video and the high school they attend. The winning videos are then used as public service announcements and as educational outreach materials.

Prior High School Video Contest Winners for Water Awareness Month

Rivers, Creeks, and Streams

Cotati's creeks, streams, and the Russian River are valuable resources to the City of Cotati.  The remove water pollutants and improve water quality, provide flood control and stormwater drainage, are vital to wildlife habitat and create neighborhood beauty and improved quality of life. 
There are two major creeks which flow through the City of Cotati.  These creeks are:
  • Laguna de Santa Rosa
  • Cotati Creek

Click here to for the map image to view the total watershed area of these creeks.  The City of Cotati General Plan has policies and programs that conserve the natural environment and wildlife resources.  Please follow the link to read more: Cotati General Plan.
The following is contact information for agencies that have permitting jurisdiction over rivers, creeks, and streams with the City of Cotati.  For questions regarding creek or stream maintenance please contact the following agencies:
US Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco Office
Regulatory Permits
California Department of Fish and Game, Bay Delta Region
Lake and Streambed Alteration Program
To learn more about the Russian River and Russian River Watershed, please go to the Russian River Watershed Association website at
For questions and flooding or flood insurance maps and studies:
Federal Emergency Management Agency

The City is subject to a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permit (NPDES) for its storm water system which contains requirements for its own operations as well as those of private businesses and regulation of new redevelopment projects for the protection of storm water quality.
The City complies with the NPDES permit through implementation of its Storm Water Quality Program including enforcement of provisions in its Municipal Code. The Program includes efforts to increase public awareness, assist businesses comply with the permit requirements, a description of storm water protection measures for new construction activities and for permanent features to be constructed as part of new and redeveloped properties.