Erosion Prevention

© Sarah Anne Risk

Winterize Fire-Affected Properties Ahead of the Rainy Season to Mitigate Increased Erosion Risks

NVG has heard from many members looking for resources related to preventing erosion on fire-affected properties, and in particular, around CalFire bulldozed lines. Therefore, we have done extensive outreach with industry partners to Napa County, CalFire, and the Napa County Resources Conservation District (RCD) to ensure growers have all the resources needed to manage winterization efforts.

NVG recommends winterizing fire-affected properties ahead of winter rains to mitigate increased erosion risks following fires. However, winterization may look different for every property. Fire and heat severity are often determining factors in deciding what work to do an a specific property. Napa County's WERT Reports for LNU Complex and Glass Fires indicate that most properties were not impacted with the kind of high heat severity that would necessitate work such as reseeding. Therefore, at this time, NVG is not recommending reseeding fire-affected properties UNLESS specifically recommended by the Napa County RCD technical support team. We do, however, recommend installation of straw wattles, water bars, and T-post photo monitoring as ways to both prevent erosion and monitor for increased risk. More information on this is included below.

A note on CalFire's restoration efforts around bulldozed lines: At this time, CalFire has completed any restoration work around bulldozed lines that they intend to do. If you are concerned about potential erosion risks on your property due to bulldozed lines created by CalFire and/or are have not been supported with clean-up and restoration as outlined in this Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Sonoma Lake Napa Unit) letter, please contact CalFire at lnu.incidentclaims@fire.ca.gov.

A note on Napa County's winterization deadline: Napa County's current winterization deadline for vineyard owners is December 15. NVG worked in partnership with other industry groups to secure this deadline extension, as well as received confirmation that landowners will not be penalized for needing more time to clean up debris before installing winterization materials, even following the deadline.


NVG’s 5 Steps for Preventing & Monitoring Hillslope Erosion After Fires

1. Login to view NVG's recent Fire Recovery Seminar Recordings from October 28 & 29 in our "Past Presentations" library including:

  • Financial & Technical Assistance with NRCS, FSA, and Napa County RCD
  • Clean-up & Rebuild with Napa County PBES and Napa Firewise

2. Determine what assistance makes the most sense for your property:

3. Contact Napa County Resources Conservation District (RCD) to schedule a site visit and receive free technical advice on erosion control and restoring burned properties and bulldozed fire lines

4. Contact the Natural Resources Conservation District (NRCS) and Farm Services Agency (FSA) for guidance on financial assistance for land restoration and vineyard replanting

5. Plan to monitor your hillslope

  • Note from NRCS: For any other particular slopes/banks that a person is concerned about moving this winter, NRCS recommends placing at least 1 T-post or piece of rebar at the edge of the concern area. Place the post/rebar about 2-3 feet into the ground and then, using bright paint, paint a line where the post/rebar meets the soil. On larger areas, 3 – 5 T posts may be recommended. (If the monitoring post is in an area with vehicle or pedestrian access, you may also want to paint the top of the post or place brightly colored flags to notify others of the potential tripping hazard.) 
     
    When taking photographs of the T posts for monitoring purposes, take one close up and one further away to help visual any overall changes in the landscape. If more than 2-3 T posts are placed in the landscape, it may be helpful to number them in some way above the bright paint to help track pictures or use geotagging on your camera. This monitoring plan will help you visual how much, if any, the soil moves this year.
  • T-Post diagram coming soon
  • Contact the RCD/NRCS team for more information


Additional Resources for Napa County Growers