C.W.A. / S.E.R.A. Projects
From December 1933 to December 1936 the Napa County Mosquito Abatement District (Napa MAD) was involved in numerous water management and reclamation projects that received both federal and state funding. The Civil Works Administration (C.W.A.), the State Emergency Relief Administration (S.E.R.A.) and the Federal Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.), were programs that provided funds and oversaw proposed projects throughout the state. Napa MAD submitted numerous projects to address levee erosion, drainage and flooding. The majority of the work was in the south county marsh areas, with more than 13,000 cubic yards of excavation, 20,000 feet of hand ditching, numerous culverts and tide gates, and hundreds of acres of discing having been completed. S.E.R.A. funding was severely curtailed during December 1936, as well as in future years, resulting in Napa MAD and the local citizenry trying to find other means to complete both those projects in progress and future proposed projects.
Project #SLF1044-X (SLF-205)
- Located at Calistoga, in Northern Napa County
- Number of men employed 21.
- The breeding areas were swamp and marsh spots caused by seepage from mountains and overflow from numerous geysers in a 530-acre area.
- This area was considered important because Calistoga was a summer-resort city and the many types of mosquitoes were a serious obstacle to tourist travel.
- The plan of procedure was digging ditches, and filling stagnant pools by manual labor.
- Located at Buckli Station, Southwest of Napa
- Number of men employed 43.
- The breeding areas were cracked ground, dead sloughs and ponds in a 2060-acre area.
- This area was considered one of the primary breeding areas in Napa County.
- It affected the city of Napa, Napa State Hospital, Mare Island and the surrounding farm territory.
- The plan of procedure was ditching, lowering tide gates, filling water holes and cracks in reclaimed land.
Both the federal government and the military were very concerned about the severe mosquito problems in the North Bay. Mosquitoes would sometimes reach such numbers that it would temporarily affect both Mare Island Naval shipyard and Hamilton Airfield. Therefore, much assistance in the form of research and control was given to the North Bay Mosquito Abatement Districts.
During the early years of Napa MAD operations there was one full time regular employee (Superintendent) and one consultant (Mr. R.E. Hackley with the Matadero Mosquito Abatement District) that were responsible for conducting mosquito control activities. The first regular, full time laborer, Mr. William Rusconi, was not hired until March 1, 1948. Prior to this time, seasonal laborers were used, being drawn from those depression era individuals seeking work or from those about to be released from the local County jail. Because the District did not have much in the way of funds or equipment during the early years, farmers (e.g. Edgerly, Keller, Dutton, Almada, Acquistapace, Filippini, Stewart, Mini, and Cabral), boat operators and the County Equipment Pool were relied upon to perform most heavy equipment operations. Inspections, oiling, mosquito fish deliveries, hand ditching, public education, equipment maintenance and coordination of District activities were carried out by the Superintendent and the Secretary of the Board. Seasonal laborers worked primarily during the months of February through June, with intermittent opportunities for employment during the other months of the year. The World War II years were a time of rapid turnover as well due to a shortage of available labor because of the war effort. Concerns about potential reintroduction and spread of malaria, as well as the reduced ability to effectively control noxious mosquitoes, resulted in instances when the Superintendent’s wife volunteered to drive the District’s truck to assist him with the mosquito control effort.