Students at River School work to help the Napa River

Archive: May 30th, 2017

Friends of the Napa River and Supervisor Pedroza visited River School to thank and encourage the students for their work supporting a healthy Napa River. The students presented FONR with the donations from their fundraising efforts.

Friends of the Napa River and Supervisor Pedroza visited River School to thank and encourage the students for their work supporting a healthy Napa River. The students presented FONR with the donations from their fundraising efforts.

River School teacher Louann Talbert has created a wonderful watershed ecology program for her students.  Her students raise salmon in the classroom, learn from classroom presentations (including from FONR) and go on a number of watershed field trips. At least one of her classes visited the rotary screw fish trap on the Napa River with the Napa RCD and FONR, and others planted oak trees at Alston Park. The program culminates with students working in groups to come up with a project to benefit the river. Four groups chose to have bake sales, a lemonade stand or collect donations as part of their project: 20 students raised nearly $400 for FONR! Other groups conducted river cleanups,  made videos, created websites, and made and distributed fliers to educate the public about the Napa River.

Here are links to a few of their projects:

A couple informative websites: Watershed Tips and  Save our Watershed and Mark’s team website

A flier : Losing our Watershed with a link to Instagram for more information @help_our_watershed

And settle in with some popcorn for this informative short film about the Napa River Watershed

Friends of the Napa River is delighted to lend support to this program, grateful for the support from the students and community, and heartened to see our local students learning about their watershed and taking action to keep our River clean. The little things add up. Well done! Or should I say, a work well begun…?

Proposed Cement Plant along the Napa River in Vallejo

Archive: February 27th, 2017

Vallejo is currently considering a proposal to build a cement plant and develop a new marine terminal at the vacant General Mills Flour site at the mouth of the Napa River in Vallejo. Vallejo Marine Terminal is proposing to develop a new marine terminal where bulk and break bulk materials would be shipped in, processed, and sent out by barge, rail, or truck. Orcem California is proposing a cement processing facility where a variety of cement products would be produced. Many in the immediate neighborhood of the proposed project have raised a long list of concerns. The City of Vallejo website has information about the proposal, and click here for a KQED story on the topic, and here for the latest from The Times Herald.

What a winter! The Oxbow Bypass successfully carried floodwater!

Archive: January 9th, 2017

This January storm put the Oxbow Bypass to work! The flood gates on McKinstry were closed several times this winter so that flood water could flow through the Oxbow Commons. The Oxbow Bypass (or Oxbow Commons Park) was designed to alleviate flooding in downtown Napa by carrying excess water when the Napa River reaches flood stage, as it did during this storm. The Living River Flood Project provides more room for flood water during storm events like this, while simultaneously restoring habitat and ecological functions to the Napa River. The project is not complete yet, and this storm and the next one may illuminate the portions that still need to be addressed. More rain is on the way, and with the ground so wonderfully saturated, the river may rise more quickly.

For more information and some fabulous graphics & photos, check out these links:

  • Visit the Napa Watershed Information Center & Conservancy (WICC) at to view a presentation on drought updates and flooding photos as of January. (Lots of good watershed information and links on this site!)
  • The Napa Register wrote a good story about the first wetting of the Bypass, which you can read  here.
  • Visit the Napa County Flood Control page for an interesting aerial from before construction of the Bypass and an overlay of the construction plans.
  • For yet more information, a 2014 report by Jeremy Sarrow at the Napa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District has wonderful graphics and provides an excellent background and overview about the Living River Flood Project. Click here for the link.

To help Friends of the Napa River continue to support our Living River, click here

Riding the Tide: the Napa River Classroom

Archive: December 29th, 2016

Thanks to a grant from the Whale Tail License Plate fund, Friends of the Napa River and the Napa County RCD took students from the Napa and American Canyon Boys and Girls Clubs out kayaking on the Napa River over the summer to let them learn first hand how our river connects to the ocean. The students felt the pull of the tide and noted the saltiness of the water as the high tide brought water from the San Pablo Bay to mix with the fresh water from the Napa River. They learned about the richness of estuary habitats teeming with life, the birds that feed in the mudflats during low tide, and about the salmon and steelhead trout that navigate from freshwater to saltwater and back again during their life cycle. Students also learned about the importance of keeping trash out of our waterways; and that the tide, runoff, and river’s flow carry trash into the ocean. The paddling trips ended with a clean-up along the river’s edge. Lessons learned on the water were taken back to the Boys and Girls Clubhouses where these kids shared what they had learned with younger club members through peer-to-peer lessons and games. Finally, the paddlers led the younger kids in a clean-up around the Clubhouse neighborhood. Friends hopes to continue and expand this program. Donate to help us make it happen!

Check out the short, fun video on the Whale Tail License Plate Fund website to learn more about the California license plates that help fund ocean education and protection (and learn a goofy interpretive dance!) And take a moment to watch a short video clip from the peer-to-peer learning portion of the project: