Taking Care of Our Watersheds

Healthy watersheds are vital for a healthy community and a healthy economy. Everything we do on the land impacts our watersheds - for the better or for the worse. Individuals, citizen groups, and government all have a role in maintaining healthy watersheds. Individuals can take steps to be more sustainable in their daily choices and actions - regardless of whether or not they manage land. Citizen groups can help bring neighbors and communities together to steward watersheds. Government can help make sure needs of people and watersheds are met for a healthy and sustainable future.

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Napa County, like communities across the nation, has recognized that the best way to protect our vital natural resources is to understand and manage them on a watershed level. Working at the watershed level is an effective and efficient way to sustain local economies and environmental health. Landowners, local governments, conservation organizations, and individual citizens all over the county are working together to find ways to maintain and improve the health of our watershed lands. Click here to learn more about activities of local watershed groups.

Watershed assessment, restoration, and monitoring are all important components of watershed management.

Watershed assessments provide baseline information about an area. Assessments help determine if more studies are needed to make good management decisions for long term sustainability. 

Restoration projects should result from assessment findings and should be carefully planned by professionals. In some cases, well-trained volunteers can implement projects; in other cases, heavy equipment and skilled labor is necessary. 

Monitoring helps us understand whether restoration methods are effective.  Monitoring quantifiable parameters such as seedling survival, water temperature, turbidity, presence of native animals, or cover of exotic vs. native plant species provides data that can be compared with targets. When monitoring shows that a project is not performing well, restoration measures should be adapted.