The California Land Stewardship Institute of Napa has won a 2011 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award for its Fish Friendly Farming Environmental Certification Program.

GEELA is California's highest and most prestigious environmental honor. Gov. Jerry Brown announced the winners this week.

The award program recognizes individuals, organizations and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership for voluntary achievements in conserving California’s resources, protecting and enhancing the environment, and building public-private partnerships.

“The California Land Stewardship Institute is a true leader,” Secretary for Environmental Protection Matt Rodriquez said in a press release. “They prove that you can support and promote environmental values without sacrificing your business objectives. They understand that going green can be a successful economic strategy that can  also lead to sustainable growth and development.”

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Fish Friendly Farming is an innovative model for cooperative private-public  environmental stewardship. Landowners and managers of over 100,000 acres have enrolled their property in the program.

By focusing on improving conditions for salmon and trout, the Fish Friendly Farming program takes a comprehensive approach to environmentally friendly land management. The fish's habitat requirements are met when farmers use the FFF program's Beneficial Management Practices for soil and water conservation and restoration and revegetation of riparian corridors to reduce sediment, limit chemical use and remove migration barriers.

The program has resulted in eliminating delivery of an estimated 1.4 million tons of sediment to creeks and rivers in the five counties.

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