Drew Dickson, owner of Napa Valley Paddle, located inside Napa River Velo, gets a far away look when asked what makes paddle boarding so appealing. “You get a sense of freedom on a board. Just you, the board, and the water. It’s a strong connection to the tides and wind.”
Dickson fully appreciates being so close to the Napa River. “We’re fortunate to have the river environment in our backyard. No better way to experience it than riding the tides on a stand up paddle board.”
… the county’s Wildlife Conservation Commission is privileged to distribute grant money to organizations that contribute to improving our local environmental conditions and to educating everyone on the importance of the related issues. Money comes to the commission as a result of Fish and Wildlife violation-related fines, occasional fines leveled by our courts for environmental-related landowner violations, and periodic additional funding from the county’s general fund.
Friends of the Napa River is one of the six groups to whom money was recently granted.
Napa’s popular Oxbow area is looking cleaner after a couple dozen volunteers descended on it Thursday morning to pick up trash. Waterways Keepers, a coalition of local groups that holds various trash cleanup events, had struck again. It advertised the Oxbow event as the first for this particular area, with more to come. But why meet on a Thursday at 8 a.m., instead of on a weekend when more volunteers might show up?
“Some of the businesses of the Oxbow District requested we host a cleanup for their employees and the community,” said Shari Gardner of Friends of the Napa River. “Most of these businesses are slammed on the weekend, so this is a good day for them.”
Help keep the Napa River Clean! Here are some community opportunities to keep our River litter-free:
5th of July River Clean-up: Join Ohana Wa’a Outrigger Canoe Club for the Napa River section of a Statewide Cali Paddler clean-up effort. Wear closed-toe shoes that can get muddy, grab your work gloves and come help cleanup along shore. Meet at the Napa Yacht Club (100 Riverside Drive, Napa) from 4:30-6:00. Friends of the Napa River will be there!
July 13th, 8-10 a.m. – join us at the Oxbow Commons, under the train bridge for an Oxbow Neighborhood Clean-up! Wear closed-toe shoes and bring work gloves if you have them.
Mark your calendar for International Coastal Cleanup: September 16th. There will be several locations around Napa and American Canyon, as well up-valley and Lake Berryessa. Join in this world-wide effort to clean up litter and keep our river and ocean free of trash. Visit the Napa RCD webpage for more information.
Dinner plans? Here are some great photos of a young green heron eating a very large bullfrog tadpole. Rusty Cohn took these shots at the beaver pond on Tulocay Creek in downtown Napa. Rusty has documented a diverse cast of characters populating the beaver pond, and it is thrilling to see so much life in busy downtown. Bullfrogs are an invasive species: they displace (and eat!) our native frogs, so thank you green heron, for removing that one!
Learn more about the wildlife in our backyard by attending the WILD lecture series hosted by our local libraries. Next up for WILD Napa at the Napa Library on August 9, 7:00pm: Skunks! Skunks are common in California—most of us see (or smell) them often, but most know very little about these fascinating and underappreciated California carnivores. Skunks are among the most adaptable carnivores; they are found nearly everywhere, from wildlands to urban gardens. Join Jen Hunter as she shares her PhD research on skunks. She is an avid skunk enthusiast and promises that by the end of the night, you will have a new appreciation for our mysterious native skunks. Flier here: WNapa.Skunks
Join us up-valley for WILD St. Helena at the St. Helena Library on Thursday, September 14 at 6:30 to learn about bats with Corky Quirk of NorCal Bats, featuring LIVE BATS! November will bring a lecture on owls. On July 18th, we heard about our local mountain lions from Felidae Conservation Fund’s Bay Area Puma Project at the St. Helena Library.
Here are a few more of Rusty’s photos from the beaver pond:
Great blue heron
Black-crowned night heron with a beaver swimming behind it
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.
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…?