Ann Baker helped lead Selby Creek restoration efforts


Water flows through Selby Creek


Native plants now populate Selby Creek, eliminating habitat for harmful sharpshooter species.


Growing up on the Larkmead Property, Kate Solari Baker saw the changes in Selby Creek firsthand. Her family made restoration of Selby Creek a priority.

Partnerships Help Restore the Napa River

Setting the Scene

Restoration of the Napa River is a testimony to the power of public-private partnerships in revitalizing the health of waterways and riparian lands. More than 70 property owners are contributing to four ongoing collaborative projects from Oak Knoll to just south of Calistoga, along the main stem of the Napa River. Napa Valley vintners and grape growers play a critical role, giving up valuable land and signing long-term agreements to propel restoration projects forward. Their contributions include the rededication of more than 70 acres of vineyard land to native riparian habitat along the river.

Landowners see the future for their kids engaging with the river. Where there were 20-foot incised banks and impenetrable Himalayan blackberry, Arundo, and other invasive species, we now have access to the river again.

What Motivates Restoration?

Historically, the Napa River meandered through wide swaths of riparian forest and wetlands, regularly overtopping its banks and flooding surrounding lands during heavy rains. Throughout the 20th century, development steadily encroached. Dams were installed, areas of the river were channelized and extensive berms and levees were installed to prevent flooding. By the mid-20th century practices included putting cars, refrigerators, even mattresses, along the side of the river. Over decades the concentration and increased velocity of river flows led to incising of riverbanks – creating deeper channels. Large areas of riparian vegetation were removed or compromised, paving the way for invasive species to take over, many of which are hosts for sharpshooters, vectors for the devastating Pierce’s Disease. At the same time runoff and erosion brought fine sediment into the river, jeopardizing spawning habitat for Chinook salmon and Steelhead trout.
In 1998 the California EPA declared the Napa River impaired and the State Water Board set reduction standards for the Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL of fine sediment into the river. In response, community leaders started championing collaborative efforts to restore the river’s health. Projects took shape along with creation of the Napa Green Land program.

Larkmead and the Selby Creek Restoration Story​

Both the Napa River and the Selby Creek tributary flow through Larkmead Vineyard’s property. In the late-1990s, Larkmead had lost more than 1,100 vines to Pierce’s Disease and noticed significant riverbank erosion and areas of Vinca, Evergreen, and wild grapes, which hosted sharpshooters year round. Ann Baker, landscape architect and the daughter of Larkmead owners Kate Solari Baker and Cam Baker, led the charge to repair Selby Creek. Working with Bioengineering Associates, the Bakers self-funded restoration of three key areas of the creek in 1999 and 2000.

Once you understand how the landscape used to look, how it used to function, you see that every time you look at the river today.

They removed 12’ thickets of Himalayan Blackberry and Arundo, tore out Vinca and wild grapes, and planted sedge grasses and other native plants and trees. Beneath banks with high incision on vulnerable out-curves they built siltation baffles: perpendicular willow cuttings planted to grab sediment and slow water, naturally rebuilding the riverbank. Around the winery they planted a native garden and added swales to slow overland water flow and recharge groundwater. They got an Environmental Quality Incentives Program grant through the National Resource Conservation Service to revegetate ditches and install weirs. Seeing success, in 2006 the Bakers reached out to their neighbors, who were also battling Pierce’s Disease and erosion, and proposed a cross-property creek restoration. Kate says, “It helped for our neighbors to see the success of work we had done and the investment we were willing to make.”
Ultimately 13 landowners came together, participating in numerous planning meetings. They agreed to self-assess their properties based on length of creek frontage to match 20-25% of the cost of the restoration work. With help from Bioengineering Associates, the group secured three state and local grants, for a total of more than $1.8 million for restoration work along roughly two miles of Selby Creek between 2009 and 2011.

You need a few champions. And build in some fun. Landowners are going to be put in a lot of time and effort. As you build camaraderie everyone becomes more engaged.

Now, along this two mile stretch of creek, are over a thousand replanted native trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses like dogwood, walnut, manzanita, grey pine, oak seedlings, cottonwood, alder and willow replacing invasive plants and revegetating severely degraded banks. Ann says, “Part of the goal was to create something transitional – building soil and shade to help establish typical riparian cover.”
Another major goal was to cool the water for fish habitat. In sections with narrow channels and high water velocities the group installed large rock structures to drive water toward the center and create more pools. As a result, steelhead have returned to spawn, invasive plants are under control, erosion is minimal and no sharpshooters have been trapped since restoration.

The system has been in equilibrium for five years now. Restoration exceeded what we could have expected. With the recent heavy rains there has been no noticeable erosion. The amount of resilience is impressive.

Larkmead Vineyards is a Napa Green Certified Winery.

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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