Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, January 28, 2019

Contacts:  Tiffany Yap, Center for Biological Diversity, (510) 847-5838, tyap@biologicaldiversity.org
Mike Hackett, Growers/Vintners for Responsible Agriculture, (707) 738-0273, mhackett54@gmail.com

Conservationists, Watershed Activists to Urge Strong Protective Measures at Napa Ordinance Study Session

NAPA, Calif.— Conservation-minded community members and groups will urge strong steps to protect Napa Valley’s watershed and wildlife at a Tuesday study session convened by the Napa County Board of Supervisors.

The session is part of a process of developing a new county ordinance to safeguard watersheds and forests, ensuring a healthy environment for the community into the future. The study session starts at 9 a.m. on Jan. 29 at the county building at 1195 Third Street in Napa.

“Napa Valley cannot remain the preeminent winegrowing region in California without clean water and healthy ecosystems,” said Mike Hackett of Growers/Vintners for Responsible Agriculture. “We’re excited to participate in this effort to preserve the watersheds essential to Napa County’s way of life. If supervisors write a strong ordinance that truly protects streams, forests and hillsides, they’ll put us on the road to a sustainable future.”

“Supervisors deserve major credit for starting to craft new protections for Napa County’s rich natural heritage,” said Tiffany Yap, a Center for Biological Diversity biologist who will attend the workshop. “Safeguarding the county’s incredible biodiversity requires strong steps. This ordinance is an opportunity to adopt robust protections for some of California’s best wildlife habitat and most beautiful landscapes.”

Napa County is home to 150 threatened or endangered plants and animal species. The county is a hotspot for rare plants; it supports more than 1,100 native plants (many of which only occur in California) — five times more rare plant species than the state’s overall average.

In a comment letter submitted last Friday to the board of supervisors, the Center applauded some of the county planning staff’s preliminary recommendations for the ordinance, including the restriction of new planting and structures on steep slopes. Such development can cause erosion and water pollution.

The Center and Growers/Vintners for Responsible Agriculture are also calling for stronger protections for Napa County’s rapidly declining forests, as the health of the watershed is directly tied to intact natural ecosystems.

The Center’s letter notes that the county’s forests, streams and wetlands face intense pressure from development and ever-increasing threats from climate change. Such protections can be achieved, the groups say, if county supervisors draft and approve an ordinance that sets strong requirements for any conversion of natural habitat. The ordinance should include increased tree canopy, scrubland and grassland retention rates, limits on the development of steep slopes, and significant buffer zones around streams, wetlands and reservoirs, the groups say.

The Center and Growers/Vintners for Responsible Agriculture are encouraged by the proactive steps being taken by the board of supervisors and county staff to address these critical issues.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

www.biologicaldiversity.org

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