Napa County has acquired full funding to complete the Napa River Restoration Project through Rutherford, as the Napa River Rutherford Dust Restoration Team celebrates its 10-year anniversary. The receipt of a $1.5 million grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will allow the completion of this landmark project by 2015. The grant will also support Napa County’s efforts to begin the restoration on the next nine-mile section of the Napa River between Oakville and Oak Knoll, in partnership local landowners and the California Land Stewardship Institute.
“EPA supports this $1.5 million grant to Napa County to help manage erosion and create habitat for threatened steelhead,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This project will complete restoration of the Rutherford Reach, moving us closer to achieving the Napa River Sediment TMDL.”
Napa County is on track to achieve the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) objective issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Board, which calls for a 51% sediment source reduction from bank erosion and bed incision on the Napa River by 2017.
In 2002, the Rutherford Dust Society galvanized community support to restore river function, bank stability and wildlife habitat along 4.5 miles of the Napa River between Zinfandel Lane and the Oakville Bridge. This groundbreaking, comprehensive restoration project has enjoyed extraordinary local support, with unanimous participation by all 27 private property owners along the Rutherford Reach. Costs of the project and long term maintenance are shared by local property owners, Napa County sales tax funds, and state and local grants.
“The Rutherford Dust Restoration Team represents the epitome of a collaborative community effort to restore a living and resilient river. This project is a model of forward-looking and extraordinary environmental stewardship. Investing in the future, diverse stakeholders are successfully working together to create and protect the things we value most in common: a healthy environment, a thriving economy and a meaningful connection to the place we call home,” said Gretchen Hayes, Napa River Rutherford Reach Restoration Project Landowner Liaison.
The project includes widening the river corridor, which reduces flood flow velocities, reducing bank erosion and property loss. Native vegetation is replanted to secure the channel banks into the future, while increasing wildlife habitat. Planting trees provides shade and cools the water for native fish species, including Chinook salmon and steelhead trout. Existing agricultural berms are setback into adjacent vineyards and are engineered to an equal elevation and compaction standard with gentle slopes. Overbank flood damage is thereby attenuated for all properties in the reach.
The Napa River Restoration is serving as a model for the formation of other regional and national private-public partnerships aimed at restoring habitat on private land. For more information on the grant, visit www.epa.gov/sfbaydelta/sfbaywqfund/.