Napa Green Certified Land / Fish Friendly Farming Program
Napa Green vineyard and land certification is a voluntary program for grape growers & vintners that enhances the watershed and restores habitat with sustainable agriculture practices. Approximately 33,150 acres are enrolled in the program and more than 16,900 acres are certified, with thousands more about to receive official certification. A majority (90%) of the Napa River watershed is in private ownership and public/private partnerships as well as programs like Napa Green are vital to our community.
Napa Green/Fish Friendly Farming certification will provide growers with compliance for the Napa River TMDL rule.
Goals and Objectives
* Ensure compliance with all local, state and federal environmental regulations including the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, California Department of Fish and Game Code, and County Conservation Regulations. * Implement Beneficial Management Practices and promote sustainable agriculture and ecosystems. * Improve water quality and aquatic habitat. *Implement restoration and soil erosion control projects. * Expand community awareness of responsible management practices by grape growers.
Background Napa Green certification is received by enrolling in the Fish Friendly Farming program, which has been in use in the Russian River, Navarro and Gualala watersheds since 1999. Development of Napa Green for the Napa watershed was initiated by Napa Valley's agricultural community and involved an 18-month collaborative effort between local vintners and growers and representatives from government agencies and environmental organizations. The result of this effort was the creation of a workbook of Beneficial Management Practices (BMP's) with a farm plan template.The work book and accompanying workshops are the centerpiece of the program and assist landowners in evaluating natural features on their farms, assessing current management practices, and implementing improved practices.
A Technical Advisory Group (TAG) was formed to review and discuss the inventory/assessment procedures, the Farm Plan template, and BMPs. This advisory group included local natural resource specialists, representatives from the Natural Resource Conservation Service, Napa County Resource Conservation District, California Department of Fish and Game, Napa County Planning, Conservation and Development Department, Sierra Club, Friends of the Napa River, Napa Valley Vintners, Napa County Farm Bureau, Napa Valley Grapegrowers, individual growers and property owners and representatives from other interested stakeholder organizations.
Farm Plan process Napa Green participants attend a series of workshops, held annually in the winter and/or spring. Each series consists of four classroom sessions and a field trip. Following the workshops, each participant receives one on one technical assistance and field review. Program components are specific to the Napa River watershed and are technically based and involve significant scientific analysis. The Farm Plan addresses all aspects of the vineyard and property and outlines practices to achieve soil conservation, water conservation, stable drainage, riparian corridor enhancement, fisheries enhancement and long-term improvement and sustainability. The Farm Plan process involves several steps:
* An inventory/assessment of the natural resources, streams, soils, topography, and vegetation of the property as well as an analysis of current management practices; * Identification of needed changes to management practices or new vineyard design and application of program Beneficial Management Practices (BMP's) to the property; * Identification of erosion site or road repair projects; stream corridor and fisheries habitat projects and other improvements; preparation of an implementation program for both vineyard management changes and restoration projects including potential cost share sources. * A requirement for participants to conduct photo monitoring to document site conditions and the progress of their individual Farm Plan and BMP implementation.
A final step of Napa Green is certification of the farm conservation plan by the National Marine Fisheries Service, Napa County Agriculture Commissioners office, and the Regional Water Quality Control Board. The grower, in conjunction with the program technical director, presents the farm plan to the certification team. The certification team visits the farm and discusses the site and farm plan implementation timeline with the grower. Each farm plan is certified based on completeness and accuracy in describing the resources and current practices of the farm, the needed BMP's, and the implementation timeline. Once certified, the grower receives a letter from each of the certifying agencies which recognizes the grower's commitment to improve water quality and habitat values.
The Napa Green Certified program was expanded by Napa Valley Vintners and now includes a Napa Green certified Winery program.Napa Green Certified Winery is a Napa-specific set of sustainable and green business practices developed for wineries. The NVV is working closely with the Napa County Department of Environmental Management and the Association of Bay Area Governments as third party certifiers. For more information, please contact Sandy Elles at 707-224-5403.
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