You might know that glass of pinot noir is the perfect complement to a filet of salmon. But did you know that wineries in California are working to help restore endangered salmon populations?
Coho salmon in northern and central California rivers are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. To help restore these populations, a vineyard in Sonoma County, California is working with the NOAA Restoration Center and Trout Unlimited to remove invasive species on the property, create new salmon habitat, and provide ongoing stream restoration.
Taking things a step further, the vineyard’s owners have converted to organic and biodynamic farming — a practice that is much more environmentally friendly and now produces a wine called "Steelhead Red."
This project is just one of many similar efforts throughout the region. NOAA’s Fisheries Service serves on the Technical Advisory Committee of Fish Friendly Farming®, a certification program for vineyard properties that are managed to restore fish and wildlife habitat and improve water quality.
Salmon spawning in a northwest U.S. hatchery.
High resolution (Credit: NOAA)
Through the program, vineyard owners develop Farm Conservation Plans for their properties, in which they lay out strategies for implementing conservation projects. Projects can include soil and water conservation, limiting chemical use, and restoring and repairing riparian corridors.
California vineyards aren't the only ones concerned about fish, many wineries in the Pacific Northwest also are involved in salmon restoration efforts. The Salmon Safe wine program certifies farms and wineries in Oregon and Washington that are fish friendly.
So, the next time you’re out for an evening of fine food and libations, try a glass of fish friendly wine and help endangered salmon.