Napa Valley Wines Getting Polluted?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Napa County, California, have recently pledged to appropriate $3.3 million in funding to improve water quality and the natural wildlife habitat of the Napa River watershed.

This recent announcement can be found in the EPA’s newsroom at

This two part restoration effort covers 15 miles of the Napa River. Also, approximately 135 acres of farmland will be converted back to wildlife habitat. More than 40 landowners have agreed to contribute to help make this happen.

Although this project will benefit many species of wildlife, salmon is definitely a major focal point here. Local salmon populations have been declining for decades in the Napa River. Stream erosion and higher concentrations of fine sediment are two of the primary culprits for the dwindling salmon numbers. The river once supported between six thousand to eight thousand Steelhead salmon. Now the adult salmon population measures in just the hundreds. The grant money will help stop erosion and improve spawning gravel to help spur a recovery in salmon population numbers.

There is also strong economic incentive for this project. The Napa Valley is perhaps one of the most well known wine producing locations in the world. Local winemakers have been not surprisingly very cooperative with the restoration efforts. More than 20 acres have been restored to help protect the Napa River. This can be seen as a common sense move on behalf of the vintners as they are taking a positive step in helping to protect their own stake in a $61 billion per year industry.

The river has become increasingly narrow which has led to a high erosion factor. A decrease in water has created banks as high as 30 feet. This has created a situation where these banks can collapse much more easily. Work is being done to mitigate this danger as well.

Another important goal of this project is to minimize potential pollution sources affecting the Napa River. Polluted runoff will be monitored as well as an implementation of heightened pollution standards.

This project is a truly shining example of how environmentalism and economic stability go hand in hand. It is very refreshing to see businesses and agencies like the EPA working together on a common goal.

It really is quite simple. Any business activity that is not good for the environment is also not good for business. There is no long term business model that does not rely on environmental resources. So it is easy to conclude that taking care of the environment easily translates into a long term, sustainable business.

The moral of this story is that you can make money by making a better world.

Hopefully examples like this news story will start to spread to other parts of the country and the world.