Managed-retreat allows the river to restore itself through advanced planning and minimal engineering.


Restoration efforts also plant native, riparian trees and plants along the upper banks to stabilize soil and improve habitat conditions.

Napa River Restoration Part II: Along the Upper Napa River

A Managed Retreat​

The California Land Stewardship Institute (CLSI) is working with landowners on a restoration plan for a 5.3 mile stretch of the upper Napa River just downstream from Calistoga. This stretch of the river is highly entrenched, with vertical 20-25 ft. banks, actively eroding and threatening collapse. The same reach is also host to an invasion of non-native plants, providing habitat to sharpshooters that carry Pierce’s Disease (PD). CLSI is raising funds for the project which will take a different approach than downstream projects; a tactic called “managed retreat.”

Rather than grading and engineering the riverfront, managed retreat outlines actions landowners undertake as banks are failing. Property owners manage the land until failure, with critical setbacks defined for retreat. This requires pulling back vineyards, roads and any other development in the defined area. Sprigged willow gets placed at the base of the bank while the mid and upper banks are revegetated with native, riparian trees and plants. Each retreat is generally a semi-circle, scallop-like shape, which minimizes the amount of land affected. Laurel Marcus, executive director of CLSI, describes it as using the power of the river to guide appropriate measures, thus adapting to the ways the river is naturally self-adjusting.

Similar to downstream projects, the first phase of the Upper Napa River Restoration will involve removal and management of invasive plants, including Tree of Heaven and Himalayan blackberry and management of other Pierce’s Disease host plants. CLSI provides ongoing support to landowners, including grant application assistance. Laurel points out that many landowners are certified through CLSI’s Fish Friendly Farming program, one of two third-party certifications the help vintners achieving Napa Green Land certification.

Many of these landowners are already thinking about environmental stewardship and actively reducing erosion makes restoration projects easier to organize.

Forthcoming Wastewater Discharge Requirements from the Regional Water Quality Control Board are also expected to motivate voluntary investment in collaborative restoration. At least eight wineries are participating in the Upper Napa River Restoration project, including:
At least eight wineries are participating in the Upper Napa River Restoration project, including:
CLSI is also working with landowners along 14 miles of Carneros Creek, a tributary of the Napa River, to implement the managed retreat approach. According to CLSI, “Economic studies show this approach requires significantly less financial outlay than engineered projects or use of a setback buffer (50-150 ft.).”
At least 10 wineries are participating in the Carneros Creek restoration project:

Read the Series:


Partnerships Help Restore the Napa River | Restoration of the Napa River is a testimony to the power of public-private partnerships in revitalizing the health of waterways and riparian lands.


Rutherford Restored | The Rutherford Reach restoration project has been lauded for rapid accomplishments achieved through private commitment and public partnership.


Oakville to Oak Knoll – Building on the Success of the Rutherford Reach | The 9.5 mile Oakville to Oak Knoll (OVOK) Napa River restoration project flows immediately south of the Rutherford Reach restoration.


Napa River Restoration Part II: Along the Upper Napa River | The California Land Stewardship Institute (CLSI) is working with landowners on a restoration plan for a 5.3 mile stretch of the upper Napa River just downstream from Calistoga.

Making the commitment to third party certification takes time and effort, but it is worth it to demonstrate our commitment to the community and to protect our watershed, our land and the air we breathe.​

A live check in with @abrittain &!
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🌿 Did you know that less than 3% of philanthropic donations go to environmental work? 

Please consider donating to Napa Green this giving season with one of several ways at any level! 

Head to the link in our bio for details!
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With gratitude and joy, we wish you a beautiful day & start to the holiday season from all of us at Team Green! 

- Ben, Meghan, Anna, Marissa, Sierra & Megan
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‘If not here, where? If not now, when?’ 

“The onus is on us as a world class wine growing region to be leaders in sustainability & climate action.” 

- Executive Director of Napa Green, Anna Brittain
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It’s been a big week at Napa Green and we want to take a moment to raise a glass to salute you all. 

We are overjoyed to see so much support and invigorated interest in our mission towards sustainable practices and regenerative agriculture in the wine industry. 

We have many more details, paired with educational & financial resources that are already up and rolling on our website. We will continue to share them all, one by one and in great detail here on socials as well. 

For now please plan on joining us at our upcoming Town Hall meeting on Dec 7th at @stsupery. You can find more details at 

Cheers and Happy Friday Napa Valley. We are so proud to be a part of this amazing community!
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⚠️ Important Announcement 

Napa Green becomes the first sustainable wine growing certification to require the phaseout of Round Up. 

Please find the link in our bio for the full press release and full suite of info & grower resources. 

Join us on December 7th for our Napa Green Town Hall at @stsupery.
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Don’t miss the awe-inspiring @nikki_silvestri at @dominusestatewinery on Nov 30th!
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You’re invited to join us for a very special day at @dominusestatewinery on November 30th. 

We’ll be briefly interviewing our speaker @nikki_silvestri right here on Instagram today at 2:00pm PST to hear more about what to expect at this event. See you then.
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Curious to learn more? Join us at @dominusestatewinery on November 30th for a rare event and luncheon. Link in bio for details.
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GREEN is the new black this season!! 

Head to the link in our bio now and get your shirts, help a good cause and be an honorary part of Team Green this season! 💚
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Let’s hear it for our Executive Director of Napa Green, the incomparable Anna Brittain for being named a 2023 Wine Industry Leader by @winebusinessmonthly!! 

In their Sustainability Stewards section (which we love to see) we find Anna named in good company with inspired fellow leaders! 

Head to our stories or the link in our bio for free access to the full November issue. 

Cheers to the great work of our visionary Director Anna Brittain!!
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Drink Green this Halloween! 💚
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Sierra is our Soil & Climate Specialist at Napa Green and her ask this year is that everyone consider donating to our small but mighty Team Green for Giving Season! 

Here is more from @regenwithsierra: 

“🎃 Happy Halloween Eve everyone! Today is my birthday, and I would be beyond thrilled if you would consider a donation to @napagreen to support a nonprofit focused on climate action in the wine industry 🍷🍾

@napagreen has the leading set of standards for sustainable practices, from soil to bottle. I am most proud of the work we do with winegrape growers to adopt regenerative agricultural practices in their vineyards. 

Please consider supporting us in our mission!  Click the link in bio for more! “
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Thank you for having us @visitnapavalley! We had a great time talking to visitors about the many sustainability practices our Napa Green wineries and vineyards employ! 

Stop into the Visit Napa Valley Visitor Center in Napa to learn more!
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