A cruise along the Napa River is like a voyage into the past. This trip begins at the historic Vallejo and Mare Island waterfront and continues into a different world, one of vineyards, backwater homes, and some of the largest contiguous marshes in the Bay Area. It was once the third busiest commercial river (vying with the Petaluma River) in California, after the Sacramento and the San Joaquin.
Learn why theses salt marshes are among the most productive plant communities on earth. You will also learn about sloughs, estuaries, riparian, mud flat, marshes and inter-tidal habitats as you take in the bird life and history of the Napa River.
Even before leaving the dock, diving ducks and grebes may be seen feeding in the river and marina. Across the way at Mare Island, osprey and egrets are found attending to their nests or roosting in nearby trees. Frequently a pair of peregrine falcons can be seen perched or in flight near their nest as the boat passes under the Highway 37 overpass. Just up-river we cruise alongside the Sonoma/Napa marshes and one of the largest inter-tidal marsh restoration projects in the United States. As a part of the restoration project, levees have been lowered to allow floodwaters to quickly spill over into former flood plains. This process greatly increases the food and habitat for not only birds, but also fish, amphibians and even smaller animals that help support us all. Large mud flats have been deliberately constructed along the river edge, creating abundant feeding and excellent viewing opportunities for large numbers and varieties of probing and wading birds. A variety of hawk species are common and occasionally both golden and bald eagles are seen, birds are always in sight.