RUTHERFORD, CA – RUTHERFORD, CA – The Rutherford Dust Society, a non-profit organization for the community of winegrowers, winemakers, and vintners of the Rutherford Appellation, announced today their award for the Riparian Challenge by the American Fisheries Society, Western Division. This special award recognizes the leadership, collaboration, and successful completion of the ambitious thirteen-year (2002-2015) restoration project along the Rutherford reach of the Napa River, and a presentation to celebrate the award will be held during the Rutherford Wine Experience “Big Ol’ Party” on Saturday, May 14th.
The Napa River restoration effort was initiated by the Rutherford Dust Society (RDS) to explore solutions to address flood and erosion risks, as well as how to improve the overall function in the Rutherford reach of the river. In 2002, RDS pooled their resources to hire environmental consultants to to perform an initial geomorphic assessment and to develop a conceptual restoration plan for 4.5 miles of river between Zinfandel Lane and Oakville Cross Road. Working with the Napa County Flood Control District and the Napa County Resource Conservation District, the Rutherford Dust Restoration Team (RDRT) formed a collaborative public-private partnership to seek support and identify resources to promote and push the visionary restoration plan forward. RDRT secured 100% buy-in from twenty-eight separate landowners, who in turn committed eighteen acres of prime vineyard land to convert back to floodplain and native riparian forest.
The RDRT project remains one of the most ambitious agricultural landowner-initiated ecosystem restoration efforts in California to date. Completed in 2015, the restored 4.5-mile reach features new floodplain benches and secondary channels, instream structures to enhance spawning and rearing habitat, berm setbacks, and invasive plant removal and native species revegetation. Reflecting on the success of the project, Rutherford winegrower and RDS board Vice-President Davie Piña (Piña Vineyard Management) commented, “This land is our legacy to future generations. It is our responsibility to be good stewards and provide leadership for maintaining our natural resources.” Piña went on to say, “The most exciting part of the project is that it initiated an ongoing effort to restore other parts of the river and has heightened awareness in our community.”
The Riparian Challenge was established as an annual event to encourage continued on-the-ground accomplishments in riparian habitat management in the region encompassed by the Western Division of the American Fisheries Society. The award, which was presented to the Rutherford Dust Society and its public partners, honors the efforts, interdisciplinary skills and leadership applied toward the protection, enhancement, and overall management of riparian zones within the Rutherford Reach of the Napa River.
For more information about the Napa River Restoration Project go to www.rutherforddust.org/restoration-team/. For more information about the Rutherford Wine Experience weekend and the Big Ol’ Party go to www.rutherforddust.org/wine-experience/.
About Rutherford Dust Society
The Rutherford Appellation is located in the historic heart of the Napa Valley. It is known world-wide for its signature “Rutherford dust”, a term used to reflect its terroir, its deep connection to the soil in the vineyards, the wine and the wineries of Rutherford. In collaboration with its grower and vintner members, RDS focuses on helping wine consumers, trade and media discover the celebrated Rutherford terroir, while promoting highest quality standards for grape growing and winemaking in the region and supporting other Rutherford non-profit organizations like the Rutherford Grange, the Rutherford Volunteer Fire Department and the Rutherford 4-H. For more information about the Rutherford Appellation and the Rutherford Dust Society, please go to www.rutherforddust.org.