SodaCanyonRoad | Water, wine and fish

Water, wine and fish

Bill Hocker | Jun 2, 2015 on: Watershed Issues

WIll Parrish in the East Bay Express: Turning Water into Wine


Chris Malan adds (in response to a question):

After Will Parrish’s article Water Into Wine you asked what are the fish of Napa River?

While the Napa River has a unique assemblage of 14 native fish such as: Steelhead trout, Chinook salmon, Sacramento sucker, prickly sculpin, riffle sculpin, Pacific staghorn sculpin, pacific lamprey, threespine stickleback, hardhead, Sacramento pike minnow, Califormia roach, tule perch, Sacramento splittail, white sturgeon, unfortunately we have 13 exotic fish-or non-native.

The Napa River is all but lost cold water aquatics beginning with endangered Coho Salmon in the 1950’s and extirpated by 1970’s. Few streams in California now have Coho due to human impacts such as deforestation. This is a very sensitive specie to turbidity, temperature and sediment. Large scale deforestation started at the turn of the 19th century and continues today due to conversion of our landscape to vines, roads, houses etc. After the 1906 earthquake, San Francisco was rebuilt by logging redwoods which put massive sediment into coastal streams including the Napa River.

Chinook are all but gone due to loss of habitat and water quality and Steelhead a more resilient species hangs on by a thread.

Western pond turtle and California Freshwater shrimp are fast loosing their few remaining habitats as the Napa River continues to incise due to: levees and deforestation, increased rate of runoff from ECPAs, culverts etc.

Now dewatering (vines, dams, marijuana) is killing off most all species and stressing terrestrial wildlife.

We have several aquatic animals listed on the Endangered Species Act which warrant protection through CEQA such as:

three-spine stickleback
Sacramento splittail
California Freshwater Shrimp
Western Pond Turtle
Red and Yellow legged frog

Northern Spotted Owl


CEQA and the ESA and CESA are legal hammers to help these animals.
Clean Water Act and Porter Cologne Act also legal tools.