Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 18, 2016

Contact: J.P. Rose, (408) 497-7675,

Appeal Hearings Will Challenge Plans for Destructive Napa Vineyard Development

NAPA, Calif.— The Napa County Board of Supervisors will hear appeals today, brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and other environmental groups, challenging the approval of a large vineyard development in the mountains east of the city of Napa. The large project will tear up more than 300 acres of undisturbed riparian, oak and native grassland habitat and convert it into vineyards sprawled haphazardly across the 2,300-acre Walt Ranch property. The project, which was approved Aug.1, will also destroy vital habitat for threatened California red-legged frogs, valley elderberry longhorn beetles and endangered Contra Costa goldfields

“Frogs and other wildlife will pay a steep price for this luxury vineyard, not to mention the effect on local water supplies and the climate,” said J.P. Rose, a staff attorney at the Center. “The county is supposed to protect the environment from projects like this, but that didn’t happen.”

The Center’s appeal outlines Napa County’s violations of the California Environmental Quality Act, including inadequate review of the proposed vineyard’s impacts on wildlife, water supply and greenhouse gases. The appeal raises concerns over the construction and alteration of more than 20 miles of roads and fencing that will reduce habitat connectivity and restrict wildlife movement; the use of harmful pesticides; the drawdown of local groundwater aquifers; and a host of other activities that will impair water quality in streams crucial to the survival of local salmon, reptiles and amphibians. 

“The pesticide runoff generated by the vineyard development poses a direct risk to the California red-legged frogs and foothill yellow-legged frogs that live in Milliken and Capell creeks on Walt Ranch,” Rose said. “The project will slice and dice Walt Ranch into dozens of vineyards, making it impossible for wildlife to move throughout the area.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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