A watershed approach to vineyard management for creek restoration and endangered species protection in California's Napa County, USA ( )

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The rolling, semi-arid hills of Napa County, California, USA, are one of the most productive wine grape growing regions in the world. With the success of the winery industry in the mid-1980s, much of Napa County’s agricultural lands – which had once been dominated by grazing lands for sheep and dairy cattle – were switched over to vineyards. In transforming the landscape from grasslands to vineyards, soil tilling and tree-removal caused severe erosion, negatively impacting local Huichica Creek, critical habitat for the endangered freshwater shrimp and important spawning ground for steelhead and rainbow trout. However, the rapid turnover of land ownership also created a unique opportunity for local, state, and federal agencies to work with the new vineyard mangers to develop long-term resource management plans which will benefit the entire 4,500 acre Huichica Creek watershed, as well as the local agricultural economy. As a result of the shift to more sustainable agricultural practices in the Huichica Creek watershed, vast improvements were made to the creek ecosystem health, including the reestablishment of steelhead and rainbow trout spawning and the survival of the endangered California freshwater shrimp. Wildlife populations have also risen, including natural predators such as foxes and birds of prey. Groundwater flow and downstream creek flow have increased, sediment runoff has decreased, overall water quality has improved, and the use of pesticides has declined.
Language: English
In: Ecoagriculture: http://www.ecoagriculture.org/documents/files/doc_59.pdf,



 Record created 2011-12-21, last modified 2013-01-17