Members of the Rutherford Dust Society have broken ground on an ambitious restoration of the Napa River, Wines & Vines reports.
The effort is intended both to restore the natural habitat of the river and protect adjacent vineyards from erosion. It should also reduce vineyard pests near the river. The effort began with a ceremony at Quintessa Vineyards, one of the properties affected.
Design and approval for the project required more than seven years of engineering studies and collaboration among landowners, the Napa County Resource Conservation District, Napa County and the Napa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District.
Davie Pina, chairman of the committee spearheading the effort, said, “Most landowners signed up, and all the areas needing significant work are included.” He said that a few owners are not involved because no work is needed on their property, or the work isn’t critical.
“This project really does break new ground,” said Lisa Micheli, project manager. “It’s a pioneering partnership between private landowners along the Napa River and Napa County, and it will create an innovative environmental restoration project on the Napa River in the Rutherford and Oakville districts.”
The first part of the Rutherford Reach Restoration starts at the Zinfandel Lane bridge, and will entail removing sediment pollution sources, replanting the riverbank with native trees, and installing fish habitat structures along 1.3 miles of the Napa River.
The project started in 2002 when the Rutherford Dust Society’s board of directors voted unanimously to empower a subcommittee, the Rutherford Dust (Napa River) Restoration Team (RDRT), to initiate a plan to manage and restore the river.
RDRT (or “Our Dirt”) seeks to:
* Understand the dynamics of the river system.
* Stabilize river banks and address bank erosion to reduce fine sediment pollution.
* Create a riparian buffer to protect agricultural land uses.
* Reduce the impacts of flooding.
* Protect and enhance fish and wildlife habitat.
* Reduce Pierce’s disease pressure on vineyards.
* Provide ongoing education about the river and its watershed.