A duck hangs out on the Napa River, with what appears to be a series of tires on the beach. Sam Jones

Are there microplastics in the Napa River? According to experts, probably

May 9, 2022 at 12:10pm

Sam Jones

Plastic seems to be everywhere nowadays, and based on existing research on the greater San Francisco Bay, it is highly likely that the Napa River and its watershed are filled with it, too.

“I don’t think most people realize how insidious plastics are,” said Chris Malan, executive director of ICARE, a Napa nonprofit that stands for the Institute for Conservation Advocacy Research and Education. “It is such a huge part of everybody's daily lives, and we don't give it a second thought.”

The most recent of Malan and ICARE’s missions is the Napa Watershed Microplastic Project, although the group has historically conducted steelhead studies, helped restore Suscol Creek and the like. An educational endeavor with the hopes of teaching the public about microplastics, this new project came about when ICARE members started to notice an uptick in the amount of plastic in and around the Napa River.

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