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.
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.
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.