Napa River Restoration

The Napa River Restoration is in its last phase. This has been an awesome project to be involved with!

Willow Baffles and Rootwad's are seen pictured above, and are used as natural forms of erosion control and habitat structures. They utilize plants, trees, and other vegetation to stabilize soils.

This restoration project takes place on the mainstem of the Napa River, south of Saint Helena. Over the years, the Napa River watershed has been confined to become more narrow, has been impacted by habitat destruction, and is highly susceptible to bank erosion and channel degradation. Adjacent properties have been subject to this erosion and riverbank instability and have lost vineyards lands and subsequently made costly repairs.


This community-wide impact from the river's instability drove the neighbors to collaborate to form the Napa River Rutherford Reach Restoration effort. The goal of this effort was to restore the river and set forth an annual maintenance plan to keep the river healthy.


The project involved restoring and enhancing the long-term floodplain function of the Napa River, removing invasive plant species, improving the quality of aquatic and riparian habitat, and reducing fine sediment deposition into the Napa River associated with ongoing bank erosion.

Restoration activities included channel widening, floodplain terrace creation, in-channel habitat enhancement structures (e.g. boulder clusters, boulder fields, large rootwad habitat structures, topple wood structures, tree habitat structures, live pole habitat structures, brush mats), seasonal wetland creation, vegetation management, and native plant revegetation.


The project discharges to the Napa River which is listed for water quality impairment on the most 303(d) list for sediment and for its cold, migratory, and spawning beneficial uses. This project was determined to be a Risk Level 2 based on the high-risk receiving waters as well as anticipated erosion based on soil typing, project location, rainfall amounts, and slope factors.


Sensitive habitats are within the project boundaries for wildlife species including California Freshwater Shrimp, California Red-legged Frog, California Newt, Central California Coast Steelhead, Foothill yellow-legged frog, Chinook Salmon, Western Pond Turtles, Dusky-footed Woodrat, Pacific Chorus Frog, Pallid Bat, Townsend's Big-eared Bat, Swainson's Hawk, Common aquatic and terrestrial species, and Nesting Birds.



Various permits were required including the CDFW Streambed Alteration Agreement, US NOAA Endangered Species Act, SF Bay 401 Water Quality Certification, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 404 Permit.


Siteworks Construction is the Prime Contractor and has done a great job with stormwater management throughout multiple phases and several rainy seasons. They performed grading and earthwork improvements along the river and had a Subcontractor install most of the permanent BMPs.


They've been dedicated throughout the phases to protect an environmentally sensitive project site and implement proper best management practices. The site is looking great!



Tully Consulting Group prepared the SWPPPs, provided SWPPP Inspections as well as QSP/QSD services throughout the course of the restoration. We also did a lot of sampling for these and met with the water board several times during the different phases.


Fun Fact: Temporary brush piles have been used to provide temporary cover for smaller wildlife species during the course of construction.

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