“Ninety-five percent of oaks on the valley floor are gone and we want to do a better job reducing deforestation on the hills” initiative co-author Jim Wilson, told the Bay Area Monitor. “Our hillsides are beautiful and also filter rain, keeping water clean as it replenishes aquifers.” Most of Napa’s oak woodland loss is due to vineyard development, and the county General Plan projects that another 3,000 acres of woodland will be converted to vineyard by 2030. Current protections require that two replacement oaks be planted or preserved for every mature tree felled, and oaks on slopes steeper than 35 percent and in riparian forests along streams are protected. Measure C would increase the replacement requirement to three trees for every one felled, and extend riparian protections to the ephemeral streams that are dry most of the year but channel rainfall during storms. Beginning in 2030, the initiative would limit the total number of oaks removed. Supporters of the measure include Sierra Club’s Redwood Chapter and the Napa County League of Women Voters; opponents include the Napa Valley Vintners and the Napa County Farm Bureau — and there are local grape growers and vintners on both sides.

Napa County voters will weigh in on the fate of the county’s remaining oak woodlands this June, when they cast ballots on Measure C, the Watershed and Oak Woodland Protection Initiative.

“Ninety-five percent of oaks on the valley floor are gone and we want to do a better job reducing deforestation on the hills” initiative co-author Jim Wilson, told the Bay Area Monitor. “Our hillsides are beautiful and also filter rain, keeping water clean as it replenishes aquifers.” Most of Napa’s oak woodland loss is due to vineyard development, and the county General Plan projects that another 3,000 acres of woodland will be converted to vineyard by 2030. Current protections require that two replacement oaks be planted or preserved for every mature tree felled, and oaks on slopes steeper than 35 percent and in riparian forests along streams are protected. Measure C would increase the replacement requirement to three trees for every one felled, and extend riparian protections to the ephemeral streams that are dry most of the year but channel rainfall during storms. Beginning in 2030, the initiative would limit the total number of oaks removed. Supporters of the measure include Sierra Club’s Redwood Chapter and the Napa County League of Women Voters; opponents include the Napa Valley Vintners and the Napa County Farm Bureau — and there are local grape growers and vintners on both sides.

About the author

Robin Meadows is an independent science journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. She covers water and climate change adaptation for Estuary News, is the water reporter for the Bay Area Monitor, and contributes to Bay Nature, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, PLOS Research News and Water Deeply. Robin also enjoys hiking and photography.