Napa Plant Site Restoration Project

Project Description

The Napa Plant Site Restoration Project is located roughly 1 mile northwest of American Canyon in Napa County, across the Napa River from the Napa River Salt Marsh Restoration Project. In 2003, the State of California purchased 1,460 acres of land in the North Bay as part of the Cargill Salt Ponds acquisition, which also included 15,100 acres of ponds in the South Bay. The Napa Plant Site was the processing facility for Cargill’s North Bay solar salt production operation.

The goal of the Napa Plant Site Restoration Project was to restore and enhance wetlands and transitional habitats along the Napa River while providing wildlife-oriented public access. Managed by the California Department Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the project involved the acquisition, restoration and enhancement of nine former commercial salt ponds and nine crystallizers (salt harvesting ponds) to tidal marsh and ecotone habitat for a variety of waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wildlife.

Godwits at Napa Plant Site – Photo by Karen Taylor, CDFW


The project was implemented in three phases.
  Location Acreage Year Completed
Phase 1 North Unit 205 2008
Phase 2 Central Unit 175 2009
Phase 3 South Unit 1080 2010
Project components included:
  • Multiple breaches of Napa River levees;
  • Construction of interior swales to mimic historic tidal sloughs;
  • Desalinization of crystallizers;
  • Lowering perimeter levees;
  • Establishing managed wetland and ecotone areas; and
  • Constructing public access features, including trails, interpretive signage, benches, parking, and a boat launch.

The Central and South Units of the project now comprise the Green Island Unit CDFW’s Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area. Once monitoring is complete, the North Unit is planned to be incorporated into the Fagan Slough Ecological Reserve Tidal restoration has improved habitat and water quality conditions at the project site.

Project planning, permitting, and design were supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Construction funding for the North and Central Units was provided by the California Resources Natural Agency’s Wildlife Conservation Board.


For the most recent information on the Napa Plant Site Restoration Project, please contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Wildlife Biologist, Karen Taylor at


Back to Napa River Salt Marsh Restoration Project page

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