River otters coming back to Sonoma County 

Melanie Parker, PETALUMA ARGUS COURIER
Winter rains have swollen streams and rivers, recharging groundwater, filling ponds and lakes, and making more visible the network of waterways that traverse Sonoma County. One species that makes good use of this aquatic web is the river otter. Have you seen a river otter recently? If so, you’re one of a growing number because river otters are on the comeback.
River otters are large, fish-eating members of the weasel family. They are energetic animals about three feet long that depend upon fish and crayfish for over 90 percent of their food. Otters are aquatic, which means that they live almost exclusively in or near water. You may see them swimming in places like Spring Lake, traveling along Sonoma Creek, feeding along the Petaluma or Russian rivers or even working the mouths of coastal streams in places like Pinnacle Gulch or Gualala Point.
The Bay Area is seeing a rebound in river otter populations. Experts speculate that this is a testimony to many overlapping efforts to improve water quality and restore habitat. Megan Isadore of the River Otter Ecology Project says, “The most amazing thing about the otters’ return is they have done it completely on their own. There have been no efforts to reintroduce otters. What we are seeing is the response of the species to improved conditions.”
Read more at: River otters coming back to Sonoma County | Petaluma Argus Courier | Petaluma360.com