Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, August 15, 2016

Contact: Aruna Prabhala, (510) 844-7100 x 322,

Administrative Appeal Challenges Destructive Napa Vineyard Development

NAPA COUNTY, Calif.— The Center for Biological Diversity today challenged the approval of a large vineyard development northeast of the city of Napa, filing an administrative appeal with the Napa County Board of Supervisors. The large project will tear out 429 acres of undisturbed riparian, oak and native grassland habitat and develop it into vineyards sprawled haphazardly across the 2,300-acre Walt Ranch property; it will destroy habitat for the threatened California red-legged frog, valley elderberry longhorn beetle and endangered Contra Costa goldfields

“Walt Ranch is home to a vibrant wildlife community and contains some of the most important oak and riparian habitat in Napa County,” said Aruna Prabhala, a staff attorney with the Center. “We can’t let this proposed vineyard cut a jagged hole right into the heart of it.”

The Center’s appeal outlines Napa County’s violations of the California Environmental Quality Act, which include inadequate review of the proposed vineyard’s impacts to wildlife, water supply and air quality. It raises concerns over impacts arising from the construction and improvement 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. 

“However you dice it, this vineyard is bad for the environment and the rare animals and plants that rely on it,” said Nicholas Whipps, a legal fellow with the Center. “Napa County needs to go back to the drawing board to make sure its decision to approve this project doesn’t kick its wildlife to the curb.” 

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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