SodaCanyonRoad | RSVP for May 15 Watershed Symposium today! Tickets are going fast.
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RSVP for May 15 Watershed Symposium today! Tickets are going fast.


Chris Malan | Apr 30, 2015 on: Watershed Issues

I hope we fill the room with our Coalition members to ask the tough questions of true resiliency-forest, water, forest and soil protection and conservation. Keep in mind the RCD is the entity that developes erosion control plans and works directly with the vineyard developers to clear cut our watersheds and mitigate erosion. They are the front line/interface with the plans to install erosion control devices to mitigate forest extraction. Most all new vineyard development in Napa County is in the hillside environments. They need to hear from us how we feel about this practice in front of the politicians that are going to be there putting out accolades about how wonderful they are all doing about ‘Building Resiliency in Our Watershed’. I think letting them all know how concerned we are IN PUBLIC when ever possible is essential to building our political movement for sustainable growth given finite precious resources.

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Keep in mind:

1. This Symposium is put on by the Resource Conservation District, RCD, whose mission is to work with farmers to improve soil conservation, and they get money from the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board, SFRWQB: government serving government impressing upon the pubic a rosy picture of the great work going on to restore the Napa River.

Keep in mind all of our consternation of vines marching to the ridge tops. The RCD is on contract by the BOS/County to-design erosion control plan applications, ECPA, for the development of vineyards; all new vineyards are in the hillside watersheds and the erosion control plans engineer sediment and water transported to the streams. This causes deep incision of the Napa River as water is diverted off the site of vineyard development and piped/diverted to the nearest stream.

SFRWQCB: is the lead agency for water quality; they are by law responsible for improving the water quality of the Napa River, impaired due to sediment, nutrients, pathogens; they lag for more than 20 years issuing enforceable, measurable implementation objectives to the polluters/farmers for reducing erosion; yet they give massive amounts of our tax dollars to the RCD each year to do ‘feel good projects’ like this symposium

2. The RCD; SWRCB; IRWMP; (all speakers tomorrow) fund Rutherford Dust, Oakville and Upper Napa River restoration projects which:
are using millions of tax payers dollars with little public oversight of these projects;
  • inadequate biological monitoring; and questionable habitat gains as they are eliminating 400 year old riparian trees in order to contour back the steep river banks to create a man-made riparian setback area from the River. (vines removed to blade the banks back)
  • to rescue rich land owners who own vineyards along the River from the erosive flooding forces of the Napa River that are ripping through their vineyards: increased flooding on the valley floor is largely caused by deforestation by vineyards in the watershed directly related to erosion control plans that divert water off the vineyards and send it off vineyard site to the creek creating an increased rate of runoff which collapses stream banks (erosion) and incises the River creating steep banks and the river disconnects from the flood plain-hydrologic dis-equalibrium.
  • IRWM has funded Rutherford Dust, Oakville and Upper Napa restoration projects because there is influential inside lobbying going on for the funds to rescue rich landowners/vineyards who are loosing entire vineyards; i.e. RCD staff sit on the steering committee of IRWMP who directs funds to their ‘pet’ projects. Don’t bother to apply for IRWM funds if you are a watershed protection group because their IRWMP staff will work against you getting funds, even if you have a great project. It smacks of corruption and cronyism
  • There is no evidence yet that these projects are benefiting the Napa River because the monitoring has been inadequate; inadequate baseline data and post project monitoring is a disaster due to NO WATER in the Napa River to determine biological improvement

I am hoping that Vision 2050 will have tough questions for these bureaucrats who are have not being honest about the watershed facts. This is an opportunity to educate the public about our concerns for watershed protection.