The Sacramento and Davis area will soon see a vast increase in wetlands area.
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, located between Sacramento and Davis, contains nearly 16,000 acres of wilderness area. The California Department of Fish and Game along with the California Waterfowl Association are currently working to convert and restore this land into wetland wildlife habitat.
“We are going to take about 700 acres of agricultural land and convert it into wetlands,” said Carol Singleton, DFG communications officer.
In addition to converting this agricultural land into wetlands habitat, the DFG plans to restore existing wetlands, she added.
The funding for this project comes from two sources, according to a press release.
$79,000 came from a civil prosecution settlement that stemmed from a 1.3 million gallon dairy wastewater spill that contaminated a canal system in the Dixon area in November of 2003, the release said.
The DFG’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response conducted a damage assessment to determine harm to the wildlife and environment. The analysis ultimately found conditions that are known to adversely affect fish and other aquatic life that inhabit the canals.
Another $348,000 came from a federal grant to the California Waterfowl Association from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
“They’ve received this NAWCA funding and each year they’ve been trying to bring back some of the wetlands,” said Ann Brice, associate executive director of the Yolo Basin Foundation.
The CWA will be donating funds and managing the restoration project.
“Construction will begin this summer, and will be complete by the fall of 2010,” said Chadd Santerre, senior wetlands project supervisor with the CWA.
CWA will be responsible for the physical restoration of the wetlands, Santerre said. The final product will be a mix of managed seasonal wetland habitat and tidal habitat.
“The restoration aspect involves conversion from pasture into wetlands – the construction of levees and water control structures,” he said. “There are also 522 acres of habitat that is going to be enhanced and improved and repaired.“
The CWA was responsible for seeking funding and implementing the plan, but they will eventually turn the land over to the DFG for management, Santerre said.
Thousands of nature enthusiasts visit the wetlands area every year for educational programs, bird watching opportunities and general nature exploration.
“[The wetlands area] is a wonderful resource and a great asset to the community,” Singleton said. “It’s really a jewel of an area.“
The restoration and development of the wetlands area will make it a desirable place for wildlife as well as community members.
CAITLIN COBB can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.