Napa Green Farm Certification Program
Landmark Environmental Incentive Program for Grape Growers Designed to Help Restore and Sustain Aquatic Habitat and Improve Water Quality in Napa Valley
1/27/2004 - St. Helena, CA - Working to improve and protect the valuable natural resources of the Napa Valley, a public/private partnership has launched the Napa Green Farm Certification Program: Fish Friendly Farming™ for the Napa Valley.
This historic voluntary program was derived from the Fish Friendly Farming (FFF) Program that has been in use in the Russian, Navarro and Gualala watershed since 1999. Subsequent development of a similar program for the Napa watershed was initiated by Napa Valley's agricultural community and involved an 18-month collaborative effort between grape growers, public officials and environmental groups (1), with one common goal - to improve water quality, and restore and sustain fish habitat in the Napa Valley watershed.
The result of this collaborative effort was, in part, the creation of a workbook of Beneficial Management Practices (BMPs) with a Farm Plan template. The workbook and accompanying workshops serve as the centerpiece of the program and assist landowner participants in evaluating natural features on their farms; assessing current management practices; and, implementing improved practices.
"The Napa Green Farm Certification Program is the most important and comprehensive environmental incentive program to hit the Napa Valley," said Clay Gregory, immediate past president of the Napa Valley Vintners. "Participants get professional help in customizing their own proprietary Farm Plan, at little or no cost and the environmental benefits are enormous," he added.
Over 40 growers (2), representing more than 10,000 acres in the Napa Valley have already signed up for the first two series of Napa Green workshops that began on January 12, 2004. The positive response to Napa Green has exceeded all expectations and both workshop series were expanded to accommodate all interested growers.
The goals of Napa Green are to: 1) ensure compliance with all local, state and federal environmental regulations, including the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act; 2) implement BMPs and promote sustainable agriculture and ecosystems; 3) improve water quality and aquatic habitat; 4) develop and implement restoration and soil erosion control projects; and, 5) expand community awareness of responsible management by grape growers.
"This is a graduate program for sustainable farming," said Zack Berkowitz, a longtime Napa Valley grape grower who was involved in the development of the original certification program, dating back to 1997. "Napa Green helps growers identify what's truly sustainable and what's not and, it's a third party certification by actual regulators inspecting your Farm Plan and its execution," he added.
"Friends of the River supports this program because of the large environmental benefits gained through cooperation with farmers and landowners in restoration projects, and the comprehensive, sound scientific basis of the program," said Betsy Reifsnider, executive director, Friends of the River. The detailed nature of the practices and the analysis for stream corridor restoration shows integrity - it allows Friends of the River to fully review and endorse the program contents."
Execution and management of the Napa Green Program is through a public/private partnership of the Napa County Resource Conservation District (NCRCD) and Laurel Marcus & Associates (LMA). The NCRCD is a local non-regulatory agency whose mission is to promote responsible watershed management through voluntary community stewardship and technical assistance. LMA is a natural resource consulting firm with over 20 years experience in restoration and erosion control on agricultural lands. LMA wrote and has directed the FFF program since 1999.
For more information about Napa Green, please contact the Napa County Resource Conservation District at 707/252-4188.
Organizations involved in the development of the Napa Green Program include: Napa Valley Vintners, Napa County Farm Bureau, Napa Valley Grape Growers Association, Winegrowers of Napa County, Sierra Club, Friends of the Napa River, Audubon Society, Napa County Resource Conservation District, San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, California Department of Fish and Game, National Marine Fisheries Service, Napa County Agricultural Commissioner, Napa County Conservation, Development and Planning Department and a variety of vineyard management companies and individual grape growers.
Members of the Napa Valley Vintners, participating in the first series of Napa Green workshops include: Araujo Estate Winery, Beringer/Dos Rios Vineyards, Beringer/Gamble Vineyard, Beringer/Yountville Vineyard, Beringer Blass Wine Estates, Bouchaine Vineyards, Cain Vineyard & Winery, Chappellet Vineyard, Clark-Claudon Vineyards, Cliff Lede Vineyards, Clos Pegase Vineyards, Domaine Chandon, Inc., Ehlers Estate, Frog's Leap, The Hess Collection, Heitz Cellar, Parry Cellars, Peju Province Winery, Pine Ridge Winery, Robert Mondavi Vineyards, Saintsbury, Silverado Vineyards, Spottswoode Estate Vineyard, Sterling/Beaulieu Vineyards, Stony Hill Vineyard, Tres Sabores and Volker Eisele Vineyard. For information about other participants, please contact the NVGGA/NCFB or the NCRCD.