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As Friends of the Napa River prepares for the ongoing efforts to complete the Napa River Flood Control Project, we held a small celebration (two weekends ago) to express our immense gratitude to our political leaders who have helped to make this ongoing project such a resounding success and a global example of enlightened flood protection and river restoration.

Thanks to the innovation, collaboration, and dedication of the Napa River community and our leaders, our river is rebounding. We have major flood control improvements, hundreds of acres of wetlands and miles of river restored. We are enjoying a revitalized Napa Waterfront, with improved access to the river, water trails and new parks. The community is embracing the Oxbow Preserve, Oxbow Commons and Trancas Crossing Park, to name a few. Fish and wildlife are returning to the Napa River, too, including waterfowl, wading birds, salmon, osprey, beaver and river otters.

Although the current Flood Control Project protected our community at least three times last year, there is more to do: Flood walls and pumping stations must be built to protect neighborhoods still vulnerable to flooding, and additional restoration projects are needed. Measure A’s half-cent sales tax is expiring in 2018, and we will need to find funding to complete the project.

During the event at the Westin Verasa, Friends of the Napa River honored: U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson, California State Senator Bill Dodd, Napa County Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht, Mayor of Napa Jill Techel, former Napa County Supervisor Paul Battisti, in memoriam, former Mayor of Napa Ed Henderson and the founding president of Friends of the Napa River, Moira Johnston Block.

Also honored, but unable to attend, were Sen. Dianne Feinstein, retired Sen. Barbara Boxer,  Rep. Nancy Pelosi and former Napa County Supervisor Mike Rippey. The hard work and dedication of the Napa County Flood Control District, the Army Corps of Engineers, and many individuals in our community were also acknowledged.

After showing a beautiful, new “Living River Video” created by Brooke and Holly Preston, (which can be viewed from our web site each honoree reflected on his/her role in the Flood Control Project and was given a stunning award plaque “In honor of your contributions to the Living Napa River Flood Control Project,” crafted by Gordon Huether.

The honorees gracefully accepted the community’s thanks and expressed their continuing support to fulfill the promise of comprehensive flood protection and ongoing river restoration. Friends of the Napa River will continue to play a critical role by remaining vigilant, engaged in the review, design and construction of projects along the river, in our watershed.

The success of the Living River Flood Control Project is dependent upon the continued commitment of the community: Thank you.

The event was made possible through the diligent work by our members, volunteers and event sponsors: The Westin Verasa Napa as the host with La Toque serving the food; wines poured by Napa Valley Wineries: Alpha-Omega, Baldacci, Darioush, Dyer/Meteor, Robert Craig, Saintsbury, Tres Sabores and Truchard. Thanks to all.

Bernhard Krevet

On behalf of the FONR Board of Directors