The Michael family has received credentials from the Fish Friendly Farming Certification Program, sponsored by the California Land Stewardship Institute, for their constant and focused protection of the Kellogg and Redwood Creeks. Not only do fish thrive in the creeks; sustaining the health of this watershed has also fostered the return of native turtles and a natural mitigation of invasive bullfrogs. Both of these phenomena indicate that this ecosystem is recovering its natural balance.
Trees occasionally fall into the creek, diverting the water flow and disrupting the watershed. Those trees are promptly removed. Non-native invasive blackberry vines growing along the creek bed can attract all manner of wild animals who pollute the creek water with their waste and also disturb the creek’s flow with their foot traffic. Therefore, these vines are trimmed accordingly. “We have to be conscientious of the nature that surrounds the creek and impacts it.”
Herb, who grew up next door to the estate, says, “I can see the house I grew up in every day. It was an old adobe house with 32-inch-thick walls of mud and horsehair, built in 1840 by General Vallejo as a gift to Lieutenant Berryessa—a hunting lodge. At that time, there were grizzly bears on Mount Saint Helena, and they were captured and brought down to the valley where they were made to fight buffalos,” Herb says. When he was a boy, fishing was legally allowed from Kellogg and Redwood Creeks, and fish them he did.