The family-run winery has donated vineyard land to San Luis Obispo County and is clearing and replanting native vegetation to help recharge the aquifer, replenish area wells and stem water flow at a key headwater section of Paso Robles’ flood-prone creek.
Dec. 13, 2016 (Paso Robles, Calif.) – While surveying his recently-purchased vineyard in the Adelaida AVA, Winemaker David Parrish noticed a faint, curving linear pattern at the bottom of a slope. So, David called a local biologist to come out and take a look.
The biologist, armed with topography maps, confirmed Parrish’s initial hunch.
The pattern at the bottom of his vineyard, was, in fact, part of the Adelaida Creek, yet so unrecognizable that past surveyors and owners failed to record it.
What’s more, the section is a key headwater for the creek that has been the cause of flooding in Paso Robles. The section was overgrown with non-native weeds and practically bone dry, conditions that don’t slow or soak up rain water, and allow it to roll, or sheet, directly into downtown Paso Robles, flooding the Paso Robles fairgrounds after every decent rain.
In an unprecedented move, Parrish Family Vineyard has officially donated .64 acres of its prime vineyard that includes the creek and the surrounding area to the County of San Luis Obispo, and has been working with the Upper Salinas-Las Tablas Resource Conservation District (US-LT RCD) and the county’s Department of Environmental Programs to clear the section and plant native water-soaking vegetation. The planting began last week and will take roughly three weeks to complete.
The project will significantly recharge the aquifer and replenish area wells with naturally-captured rainfall that otherwise would end up overrunning the sewer drains of Paso Robles.
“When it was confirmed it was the Adelaida creek, we were just ecstatic,” says Parrish. “We’ve lived in Paso Robles for generations and know we all need to do what we can to recharge the diminishing aquifer. So we thought, just maybe we can actually do something to help our neighbors by clearing it out and restoring it so it flows correctly.”
While there are many headwaters, the Parrish Family Vineyard headwater is located at a key junction for rain run-off.
“This is a significant headwater section,” says Devin Best, executive director of US-LT RCD, which has been instrumental in facilitating the restoration project with the Parrishes and the county. “And .64 acres doesn’t sound very big, but where it’s located, by clearing it and adding native vegetation, it’s going have a significant positive impact to slow and capture a lot of rainfall that would otherwise just flow downstream.”
Best says one of the key factors to the restoration is planting shade-providing native vegetation that has long been cleared by past generations of farmers. Canopies, Best explains, keep the soil cooler, preventing drying which makes the ground more permeable.
In addition to recharging the aquifer and boosting flood prevention, restoring the headwater will also help improve a host of other issues, says Kate Ballantyne, environmental division manager for San Luis Obispo County’s Public Works Department.
“The project will provide much needed water quality improvements to Adelaida Creek, by reducing erosion,” says Ballantyne. “It will also restore the function and value of the aquatic habitat to the benefit of local wildlife.”
Parrish Family Vineyard donated the stretch of land and helped clear the section. Funding for the new plants was provided by the Nacimiento Water Project partners, through the San Luis Obispo Flood Control and Water Conservation District, in partial fulfillment of the District’s obligations to mitigate for the Nacimiento Water Project’s impacts to wetlands during project construction.
ABOUT PARRISH FAMILY VINEYARD
Parrish Family Vineyard is a premier producer of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Paso Robles, Adelaida District, and is dedicated to crafting sophisticated wine that represents the true varietal characteristics farmed on their coastal-influenced family vineyards in the preeminent Paso Robles region, including the Creston and Templeton Districts. Parrish Family Vineyard’s aim is to produce world-class Cabernet Sauvignon from their superior Adelaida Vineyard and inspire lasting experiences at your table or in their welcoming tasting room. Through their innovative approach and sustainability and philanthropic efforts, they work to be a positive force in the wine world and local community. Follow Parrish Family Vineyard on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or visit parrishvineyards.com.