Goals and Accomplishments

Restoration objectives for the Rutherford Reach of the Napa River include the following:

  1. Reduce bank erosion, loss of vineyard land, and flood damages by restoring stability to the Napa River
  2. Reduce sediment loading into the river downstream and into San Pablo Bay (a Regional Water Quality Control Board TMDL objective)
  3. Restore habitat for salmonids and other aquatic species including existing runs of steelhead trout and Chinook salmon, by creating more riffles, reducing sediment burial of spawning gravels, and increasing cover and shade.
  4. Restore a continous corridor of riparian habitat for birds and wildlife.
  5. Replace invasive plants with native species and reduce risk of Pierce’s disease.
  6. Engage landowners in the process and maintain regulatory compliance.

Project accomplishments to date include the following.

2002 Rutherford Dust Society (RDS) Board of Directors vote unanimously to create the RDRT subcommittee, define goals and objectives, and fund initial studies/conceptual plan.

2003 Presentation of the Napa River Project Conceptual Plan (CP) to Rutherford and Napa Valley winery owners, growers, land owners and local government officials.

2004 RDRT presents to Oakville District landowners, who agree to join the project. The scope of the effort extends to include a half-mile reach of the Napa River in the Oakville District.

2005 RDRT is awarded grants by the State Coastal Conservancy to develop a preliminary engineered design in concert with Napa County with the local Resource Conservation District (RCD) as grant manager.

2006 RDRT is awarded a State Water Board grant to create final designs and implement Phase 1 (the most upstream 1.5 miles of the project reach) based on project benefits to water quality.

2007 A detailed hydraulic model is completed to satisfy FEMA requirements to demonstrate that the project will not exacerbate flood risks. Napa County RCD agrees to serve as umbrella for RDRT.

2008 The comprehensive preliminary engineering design for the entire reach is completed with supporting environmental documentation. Agency review and revision initiated with US Army Corps, US Fish and Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries, CA Dept of Fish and Game, and the State Water Board. Landowner Advisory Committee formed to guide river maintenance process. RDRT is awarded a federal non-point source pollution prevention grant to proceed with Phase 2 implementation.

2009 Completion of project regulatory review followed by July 2009 groundbreaking for Phase 1. Project awarded Federal Stimulus funds to compensate for frozen State project funding. Fundraising continues for subsequent project phases.