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The Russian River Ecosystem

The headwaters of East Fork of the Russian River wind through the McFadden Farm, encouraging plant, insect and animal biodiversity.  This helps build a strong ecosystem creating an ideal setting for a healthy organic vineyard.  A robust insect biodiversity within the vineyard promotes pest management via natural predators  (i.e: insects-eating-insects) which helps us avoid spraying chemicals or pesticides.

A variety of invertebrates such as the praying mantis, dragonflies, ladybugs, spiders, beetles, butterflies, and bees aid in the pollination of native plant species, break down dead plants and animals, and provide food for fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds (such as the California Quail), and other small mammals.  The Russian River within McFadden Farm’s bounds host river otters, crawdads, rainbow trout, and turtles among many other river dwellers.  Among the larger mammals often seen on the farm are bears, bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, gray foxes, black tail deer, and wild turkeys.

The Russian River, a southward-flowing river, drains 1,485 square miles of Sonoma and Mendocino counties in Northern California. With an annual average discharge of approximately 1,600,000 acre feet.  It is the second largest river (after the Sacramento River) flowing through the nine county Greater San Francisco Bay Area with a main stem 110 miles long.  The Russian River was originally known among the Southern Pomo as Ashokawna, “east water place” or “water to the east”, and as Bidapte, “big river”. In 1827 it was called the San Ygnacio by the Spanish, and in 1843 Spanish land grant referred to it as Rio Grande.  Today, the river takes its name from the Russian of the Russian-American Company who explored the river in the early 19th century, and established the Fort Ross colony 10 mi (16 km) northwest of its mouth.