News About the North Bay Water Reuse Authority

Efforts Underway to Restore Tidal Marshes in Carneros Wine Region

By Joe Rosato Jr. NBC, 8/30/13

The vineyards of Carneros Wine Region, at the edge of Napa and Sonoma, are alive with this year’s grapes.

Yet among the rolling vines is an area so dead nothing can live on it.

“When the salt gets here it’s so concentrated literally nothing can survive,” said Marc Holmes of the Bay Institute. “It’s a sterile landscape.”

Among these vineyards, 1,000-acre salt flats leftover from salt operations of the 1950s sit like moonscapes.

A 20-year effort is underway at the location to restore what was once 10,000 acres of thriving marshlands.

The Sonoma County Water Agency on Friday celebrated the completion of a pipeline that now will carry recycled water to the area.

Officials said the water will run through the vineyards and roadways, and down to a nearby pond to be able to bring back wildlife to the area. The water will begin its journey eight miles away at the Sonoma County water treatment plant.

Along the way, it will turn water into wine by helping irrigate the famously dry Carneros Vineyards. The water is expected to begin flowing in the fall. Wildlife experts said it will take another decade for the healing water to fully restore the area.

View more in Joe Rosato Jr.’s video report above.