Napa Sanitation District Achieves Fish Friendly Farming® Certification

December  31, 2013

Napa Sanitation District has become the first sanitation district to receive Fish Friendly Farming© (FFF) Certification for properties that it manages. This certification, bestowed by the California Land Stewardship Institute, recognizes that the District’s land management practices help to protect water quality and fish habitat on 750 acres of District land. The FFF program covers Napa, Sonoma, Solano and Mendocino Counties.

How does a sanitation district get involved in farming, let alone the fish friendly kind?

Napa Sanitation District owns two farm properties, Jameson Ranch and Somky Ranch, which are used by the District for beneficial reuse of recycled water and biosolids. Under contract with the District, local farmers utilize land at both these ranches to grow livestock feed, which thrives from the application of these nutrient rich bi-products of wastewater treatment.  

“Many of the District’s land management practices on the ranches already aligned with the FFF program,” points out Dave Martin, Recycled Water Manager for the District. “The conservation plan we developed during the FFF certification process helped fine tune the District’s management practices for elements such as roads, irrigation, drainage and creeks.”

Soscol Creek, which runs through Somky Ranch, has been identified as an important habitat for steelhead trout. During 2011 and 2012, the District implemented a restoration project along the creek that improves habitat for fish and other wildlife.  The project included removal of invasive plant species and planting of native species along the riparian corridor, improving the forage and shelter values of the creek for migrating fish, birds and mammals.

“Good stewardship of the land we manage complements our mission of protecting public health and the Napa River,” says Tim Healy, NSD General Manager. “We protect the watershed with both safe wastewater treatment and healthy land management practices.”

The District owns one additional property, the Fagundes Ranch near the airport. Staff are currently working on FFF certification for this property as well. For more information, visit the Fish Friendly Farming website.


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