Reach 14 prior to restoration efforts

Reach 14 prior to restoration efforts

Rutherford Restored Construction

Construction underway to expand the banks of the Napa River and provide new habitat for fish, birds and wildlife.

Restored river bank along Reach 14

Restored river bank along Reach 14

Reach 9 before restoration

Reach 9 before restoration

Reach 9 after restoration

Reach 9 after restoration. Water slows down with expanded area, eliminating incision.

Rutherford Restored

The Rutherford Reach restoration project has been lauded for rapid accomplishments achieved through private commitment and public partnership. The statistics are notable:
  • This project alone achieved more than 80 percent of the mandated TMDL reduction target for the Napa River watershed due to channel incision and bank erosion.
  • A continuous 4.5-mile river restoration engaging all 30 landowners across 41 parcels.
  • Includes a 20-year self-assessment to fund the project and provide for ongoing monitoring and maintenance.
  • 31 acres of vineyard land valued at $9 million were rededicated and revegetated to native riparian habitat.
  • More than 2.5 miles of the channel were widened.
  • Over 140 in-stream habitat structures were installed to help salmon and trout rebound.
  • 5 beaver dams have popped up where beavers haven’t been seen in decades and Swainson’s hawk, normally found in estuaries, have nested on the Reach.

Davie Piña described going before the Coastal Conservancy to request funding: “When we told them we had self-funded the restoration plan, had every single landowner onboard, a partnership with the Napa Resource Conservation District and the County and more than half of the $20 million raised in matching funds, they were floored. People told us it might take 20 years to break ground. We did it in seven.”

The plan was built from the inside out, with landowners like John Williams of Frog’s Leap, Piña and other Rutherford Dust Society leaders building relationships and trust with all the landowners.

In the late 1990s, berm and levee wars were getting litigious and landowners knew building the river banks higher were just ‘staying away from the river.’ Williams recalled looking at breached berms and eroding and collapsed banks, thinking, “If we tackled these different problems together we might have a better chance.”

The Napa Resource Conservation District (RCD) came to the Rutherford Dust Society and proposed a partnership. Many landowners needed to make expensive and time-consuming repairs. By collaborating, they could see benefits, like getting grants and sharing costs. Initially, each landowner contributed based on the length of their river frontage to privately fund a restoration engineering study. Once complete, a public-private partnership with the RCD was formed, called Rutherford Dust Restoration Team (RDRT), and began restoring and managing the Napa River from Rutherford to Oak Knoll.

The idea was to restore a whole reach, not just one spot where you have a problem.

There were significant contractual hurdles: landowners had to agree to allow the county and contractors access to their property for at least three years; they had to sign-up for a 20-year assessment of $1.75/foot of riverfront, which applied to both sides of the river if it divided a property in two. RDRT facilitated conversations with regulatory agencies and landowners, taking their requests into account. Even with 30 landowners agreeing, there were still millions of dollars to raise.

Napa County’s Measure A Flood Control sales tax proved to be a lifeline, providing matching funds of approximately $12.5 million. This enabled RDRT to obtain grants from multiple state and federal organizations, totaling another $7.9 million. With funding and a restoration plan with environmental and regulatory approval, they broke ground.

Davie Piña recalled one landowner who admitted he signed initially because he never thought the project would happen. “Ultimately he invited the group over to his house and congratulated us on what we’d accomplished. Another time I ran into Michael Honig, who had seen restoration work being done on another property, and he said, ‘That’s the greatest thing I’ve seen. When do you start on my property?’”

Restoration began in 2009 and was completed in 2014. The Napa County Flood District monitors and maintains the work. Annual reports show the restoration is meeting and exceeding performance standards for project success, including positive trends in channel width-to-depth ratios; increased in-channel gravel recruitment and fine-sediment storage; increased riparian buffer width and vegetation establishment.

It’s such a beautiful sight with new terraced banks, and with beaver, salmon and steelhead coming back. It just goes to show that in this age of great skepticism about our political institutions and polarized views about the environment, a group of diverse individuals can find common ground and work constructively with government to build a sustainable river for our future.​

Rutherford Reach wineries certified Napa Green Land and/or Napa Green Winery:

Read the Series:

1

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.

2

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

3

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.

4

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.

I've been at this for 30 years and this is the best, most well-thought-out program I've ever seen.

Hear from Winery Program Manager @love.dream.breathe about Energy Efficiency & Savings, one of our pillars of sustainable winegrowing leadership
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We want to sincerely thank everyone who donated either space, time or proceeds of bottles/food sold to Napa Green during Earth Month! We are a small non-profit that greatly relies on donations of these kinds and we’re so grateful for our supportive community. 

Let’s hear it for: 

📍@trefethenfamily 
📍@pineridgewine 
📍@cliffamily 
📍@neotempowines
📖 @karenmacneilco
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Social Justice, Equity & Inclusion. Perhaps our most important pillar of our six pillars of sustainability leadership. 

Thank you for the beautiful description @growresiliently!
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Register now at the link in our profile! 💦

May 23, 2024
Silver Oak Winery, Oakville
9:00 am - 12:15 pm

One of the most critical agricultural concerns with our changing climate, and more frequent & intense weather extremes, is precipitation and water availability. The good news is opportunities abound to optimize irrigation efficiency, and implement regenerative practices that improve soil health, water infiltration, and retention. 

Join us for The Future of Water, with highlights including a keynote from Peter Gleick, one of the world’s leading water experts, and Mimi Casteel, not only a viticulturist and winemaker, but also a forest ecologist with a vision for water resiliency.
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Join us for The Future of Water Workshop, to explore our water future, with highlights including a keynote from Peter Gleick, one of the world’s leading water experts (all guests will receive a copy of Peter’s most recent book, The Three Ages of Water) and Mimi Casteel, not only a viticulturist and winemaker, but also a forest ecologist with a vision for water resiliency.

Wine grape quality is closely tied to the right amount of water, at the right time. One of the most critical agricultural concerns with our changing climate, and more frequent & intense weather extremes, is precipitation and water availability. We’ve swung from historic drought to atmospheric rivers. Our community has huge swaths of unmanaged, unhealthy forests full of non-natives and overrun by firs, amplifying fire risk and undermining one of the most critical systems for groundwater recharge.

The good news is opportunities abound to optimize irrigation efficiency, and implement regenerative practices that improve soil health, water infiltration, and retention. A watershed coalition has also formed in Napa County to pilot and model creek & forest restoration for localized water resiliency and climate cooling. 

Come learn more on Thursday, May 23rd at 9:00am at @silveroakcellars.
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Sustainably sourced ingredients with Chef Sarah Heller 🌱 Purchase your tax deductible ticket to our Opus One x Napa Green dinner at the link in our profile!
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You’re invited.. 

Full details may be found at the link in our profile. Cheers!
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As we wrap up an amazing Earth Month, we want to thank you all for the support & for coming to see us at our events! 

Let’s keep the momentum going and remember that Earth Day is Every Day! 🌎
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Hear from @marisataylorwines about the importance of  water efficiency & savings and what we can all do to conserve this precious resource.
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Join us for a not to be missed dinner experience at @opusonewinery while supporting philanthropic efforts on behalf of climate action. 

An intimate group of 20 guests will be in attendance on the rotunda overlooking the estate vineyards. Chef Sarah Heller will prepare a four-course, locally-sourced dinner paired with Champagne Barons de Rothschild, Opalie de Château Coutet, and three vintages of Opus One wines. 

You will have the chance to share transformative conversations and form deep connections with industry leaders and change makers. 

Please find full invitation details at the link in our profile.
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Happy Earth Day Napa Valley! It’s an incredible joy to work with you all and see the forward progress being made all over this gorgeous place we call home. Thank you for caring, thank you for stepping up and thank you for making a difference!! 🌎💚
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Thanks to everyone who came out to @earthdaynapa and visited us at the @napagreen wine booth! 

 Cheers to @amici_cellars @cakebreadcellars @domainecarneros @handwrittenwines @robertmondavi and @whiterockvineyards for donating the certified sustainable wines to raise money for the Environmental Education Coalition of Napa County and helping make it a great event!
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We’re pouring some stellar Napa Green wines tomorrow at @earthdaynapa to include: 

@cakebreadcellars, @domainecarneros, @whiterockvineyards, @handwrittenwines, @amici_cellars & @robertmondavi!

Come by the booth! 🍷🌎
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What you can do in the vineyard & what you can do at home! 🌼🦋

#happyearthday #earthmonth #sustainability #biodiversity #pollinators #herbicidefree #napa #napavalley #cheers
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Come on by to @cliffamily! 💚🍴
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Come get involved this Earth Month! 🌎🌱

🌷 Earth Day Napa - Saturday, April 20th 11am -4pm at Oxbow Commons

🌷All Things Bottle Sustainability Workshop - Friday, April 26th at @pineridgewine from 9am -12:30pm. Registration is $20

🌷 All Things Bottle Sustainability Dinner! Friday, April 26th at @neotempowines with Karen MacNeil & Chef Dave Cruz! 

Message us directly or head to the link in our bio for info!
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