Napa River and Sonoma Creek Vineyard Program

Welcome to the Water Board’s vineyard permit webpage.  We are a state agency that regulates water quality in the San Francisco Bay Area.

In July 2017, the Water Board adopted a water quality control permit (General Permit) for vineyard properties in the Napa River and Sonoma Creek watersheds. The General Permit regulates pollutant discharges from vineyard properties located in these two watersheds.  Under the General Permit a vineyard property is defined by a parcel or contiguous parcels under the same ownership, each of which is developed to include a 5-acre-or-larger vineyard (watershed area subject to the General Permit). 

The General Permit was adopted because the Water Board identified vineyard properties as significant sources of sand and finer sediment discharge to the Napa River, Sonoma Creek, and their tributaries, and these waterbodies are listed under the Clean Water Act as impaired by too much sand in their streambeds.  The General Permit requires implementation of best management practices to control sediment discharge and storm runoff increases generated from farms and unpaved roads, and actions to control discharge of pesticides and nutrients. The Fact Sheet explains more about the General Permit history and its requirements.

Enrollment

The deadline to enroll for most vineyard properties was July 31, 2018. However, for vineyard properties affected by the North Bay wildfires, the Water Board extended the deadline for enrollment by one-year to July 31, 2019.  For new vineyard properties - those planted subsequent to July 2017 - the deadline for enrollment is one-year prior to vineyard planting.

To enroll, follow these instructions and go to the GeoTracker enrollment page.

Summary of Requirements

 

 

Existing vineyard property* (not affected by wildfire)

Existing vineyard property* (affected by wildfire)

 

New vineyard property*

 

General Permit requirement Compliance deadline Compliance deadline Compliance deadline

Enrollment

July 2018

July 2019

Within one-year of vineyard construction

Verified farm plan

July 2020

July 2021

By completion of vineyard construction or by July 2020, whichever date is later.

Performance standards for soil erosion in the farm area, nutrients, and pesticides

July 2020

July 2021

By completion of vineyard construction

Performance standard for storm runoff/bed and bank erosion
(Only applicable to hillslope vineyard parcels)**

July 2023

July 2024

Within six years of completion of vineyard construction

Performance standard for storm runoff/no change in peak
(Only applicable to hillslope vineyard parcels)**

Not applicable

Not applicable

By completion of vineyard construction

Performance standards for existing unpaved roads
(Only applicable to hillslope vineyard parcels)**

July 2027

July 2028

Within ten years of completion of vineyard construction

Performance standards for all new roads
(Only applicable to hillslope vineyard parcels)**

By completion of road construction

By completion of road construction

By completion of road construction

*Existing vineyards are those planted prior to adoption of the General Permit, which occurred in July 2017.  New vineyards are those planted subsequently. 

**These performance standards are applicable to parcels where the average slope of the planted area of the vineyard is greater than 5 percent. 

Third-Party Programs

Third-Party Programs are available to assist in Farm Plan development and to verify Farm Plans. A Farm Plan must be verified through an approved Third-Party Program or it must be submitted one year prior to the deadline indicated in the table above.

The Water Board has approved four Third-Party Programs (as listed below in alphabetical order):

Water Board Contacts

Mike Napolitano
Engineering Geologist
michael.napolitano@waterboards.ca.gov
510-622-2397

Graham Brown
Engineering Geologist
graham.brown@waterboards.ca.gov
510-622-2426

Sami Harper
Water Resource Control Engineer
samantha.harper@waterboards.ca.gov
510-622-2415

Josh Hoeflich
Engineering Geologist
joshua.hoeflich@waterboards.ca.gov
510-622-2370

Jim Ponton
Senior Engineering Geologist
james.ponton@waterboards.ca.gov
510-622-2492

Subscribe directly to the SF Bay Regional Water Board’s Vineyard Program email list to receive notifications and the latest updates. After subscribing, you will need to check for a confirmation email to complete the subscription.

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(e.g. John Smith)

Subscribe to other Regional Water Board email lists or to State Water Board email lists.

File an Environmental Complaint

  • File an Environmental Complaint
    Complaints can be related to vineyard property operations, or to any environmental issues regarding air, water, toxic substances, pesticides, or solid waste.