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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Panoramic view of the Napa Valley

U.S. EPA, Napa County Announce Millions for Water Quality, Flood Damage Reduction, Northern California Salmon

Napa vineyards have suffered flood damage, river bank collapse due to erosion.
Vintners along the Napa River will convert approximately 135 acres of farmland to wildlife habitat
to support restoration efforts.

EPA Contacts

Project Contacts:

Luisa Valiela 
(415) 972-3400 valiela.luisa @epa.gov

Erica Yelensky
(415) 972-3021

  Highlights from the report:

  • The full annual economic impact of the Napa Valley wine industry in Napa County is $10.9 billion
  • The impact of the Napa Valley wine industry on the State of California as a whole is $15.2 billion.
  • The total impact of the Napa Valley wine industry on the United States economy is $42.4 billion.
  • The wine and vineyard sector is easily the county’s largest employer. Napa Valley’s wine and vineyard sector directly, and indirectly through the services and products they consume or generate, provides nearly 40,000 jobs in the county.
  • This translates to 231,000 total jobs, nationwide, created by the Napa Valley wine and vineyard sector and its allied industries.
  • Read the full report from Napa Valley Vintners (PDF) Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

External Partners

All Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

Related Resources

Vineyard in the Napa ValleyNapa Valley vineyard
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The Napa River is One of the Largest Rivers Draining to San Francisco Bay

A U.S. EPA Region 9 competitive grant program is helping implement TMDLs to improve water quality, protect wetlands, and advance green development planning throughout the Bay Area.

The Napa River Sediment TMDL was approved by EPA in 2011 to restore steelhead and Chinook salmon populations which have suffered declines as a result of high concentrations of fine sediment. Four categories of human-caused sediment sources were identified and will be addressed by this grant: channel incision/bank erosion, vineyards, rangelands, and roads.

Grantee: Napa County
Funding: $3,265,000 = $1.5 million (EPA grant) + $1,765,000 (Napa County match+leverage).
Expected project completion date: June 2014

Projects Partners Funding
Rutherford Reach Restoration
  • Restore 0.9 miles of the Napa River to improve salmonid habitat and water quality by constructing a widened riparian corridor and removing vineyards to enlarge the floodplain, followed by three years of revegetation to stabilize stream banks.
  • Develop a plan to monitor physical, water quality and geomorphic changes and fish habitat conditions that will then be implemented with landowner funds. 
Napa County, Rutherford Reach Dust Restoration Team  $1,680,000 = $450,000 (EPA grant) + $1,230,000 (Napa County)
Oakville - Oak Knoll Reach Restoration Design
  • Complete restoration design along 3.9 miles of this river reach, including pursuing landowner agreements to allow restoration to occur. (May 2012-January 2014)
  • Achieve habitat enhancement through removal of Arundo, an invasive plant, as its eradication progresses through the Napa River. (January 2012-June 2014)
  • Eradicate 5 acres of invasive non-native Giant Reed and plant native riparian trees
Napa County,
California Land Stewardship Institute Exiting EPA (disclaimer)
$720,000 =
$395,000 (EPA grant) + $325,000 (Napa County)
Ranch Water Quality Plans
  • Conduct outreach and education to ranchers to incorporate BMPs into ranch plans to foster implementation on 80% of Napa watershed grazing lands.  Activities will include site evaluations and workshops.
Napa Resource Conservation District, UC Cooperative Extension Exiting EPA (disclaimer) $225,000 = $155,000 (EPA grant) + $70,000 (Napa County)
Rural Roads Assessment
  • Assess, prioritize, and implement BMPs to reduce sediment runoff from rural roads and stream crossings per the TMDL's 50% sediment delivery reduction goal.
  • Update the County Roads Maintenance Manual with improved BMPs to guide these future road improvement projects.
Napa County, Napa Resource Conservation District, Contractors Exiting EPA (disclaimer) $420,000 = $200,000 (EPA grant) + $120,000 (Napa County)
TMDL Tracking & Accounting System
  • Develop a TMDL tracking system. 
  • Identify tools to prioritize implementation to advance water quality improvements through increased accountability and improve ability to make cost-effective decisions.
Napa County, Contractors $220,000 = $200,000 (EPA grant) + $20,000 (Napa County)

Environmental Results

  • Sediment load reduction of approximately 3,000 tons/year equal to 16% of the total annual TMDL target reduction for channel erosion in the Napa River watershed
  • Repair of approximately 1,800 feet of eroding banks in the Rutherford Reach
  • Riparian habitat enhancement with eradication of 5 acres of Arundo
  • Rancher BMP implementation to control sediment and pathogens on 80% of grazing lands in the Napa River

The pictures below show the west bank of the Rutherford reach restoration where nearby Honig Winery, Roundpond Winery and Carpy-Conolly ranch and grange vineyards have each converted one to four acres of farmland to wildlife habitat in support of these restoration efforts.
Steelhead and Chinook in the Napa River, 2008Steelhead and Chinook in the Napa River, 2008
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