Proposition 1 Cycle 2 Active Grants
The Fiscal Year 2016-2017 projects that are moving forward under the Delta Conservancy’s Proposition 1 Ecosystem Restoration and Water Quality Grant Program are listed below.
The primary goal of the Dutch Slough Tidal Marsh Restoration Project is to restore historic Delta habitats and provide ecosystem benefits for native species. Funds from this grant will be applied toward Phase 2, Revegetation, which is a critical component for the project to attain its full habitat benefits. The Project site consists of three leveed parcels totaling 1,187 acres that have been used as dairy and grazing lands. Phase 1 will be grading of the first two parcels to create proper elevations for tidal marsh, intertidal channels, and upland areas. Grading will move soil from higher areas to lower elevation areas to create a marshplain, and will also include creation of upland (riparian) berms and shallower levee slopes. Phase 2 will be revegetation of the two graded parcels, and will include preparation of the planting plan; purchase of planting material; planting of tules, riparian trees and shrubs, and forbs and grasses; maintenance of the plantings; monitoring, and reporting. Phase 2 revegetation planting will begin in late 2018, followed by plant maintenance in 2019, 2020 and possibly 2021. Phase 3, which overlaps with the first two phases, is Monitoring. Restoration of these two parcels will create 400 acres of tidal marsh, 50 acres of riparian woodland, 18 acres of native grassland, and 110 acres of subtidal open water; and it will enhance 70 acres of managed marsh. Native wildlife is expected to rapidly colonize the restored habitats.
This working waterways habitat enhancement project will pair cattle management practices with ecosystem restoration practices to create 13.5 acres of riparian habitat on actively farmed and grazed ground in the northern part of the Petersen Ranch along Lindsey Slough. It will address both the need for native vegetation—with the habitat and ecosystem benefits it provides—and for improved water quality in the Cache Slough Complex. The project will build upon a successful history of riparian restoration and cattle exclusion activities at the Ranch, and is moving forward with the full support of the landowner and neighboring property owners. The project will install nearly 6.5 miles of fencing structures and provide off-stream water sources for livestock. This will ensure that cattle no longer have direct access to surface waterways that discharge into sensitive Delta habitats and will create a riparian corridor available for restoration activities. The riparian corridors will be planted with a diverse mix of native trees, shrubs, grasses, sedges and forbs to create 13.5 acres of wildlife habitat that will also serve as filter strips for irrigation and storm water runoff. It is anticipated that the removal of cattle and creation of riparian filter strips will provide significant ecosystem benefits to this area of the Delta, including increased habitat for terrestrial and invertebrate species, reduced erosion and improved water quality, enhanced ecological condition of ranch waterways, and carbon sequestration.
Thousands of acres of Delta restoration projects are underway or in the planning phase; however, a major constraint on restoration success is invasive species. Historic and recent simplification of habitat structure and altered flow patterns have facilitated the increase of non-native species throughout the Bay Delta, some of which have become harmfully invasive. Unfortunately, once established, invasive species are difficult to control due to their generally rapid growth rate, high reproduction output, and proficient dispersal ability. Conventional control approaches, such as pesticides and mechanical removal, only provide temporary relief to invaded sites. Competition by native species can be a more sustainable management tool; however, this strategy has not been investigated in a tidal wetland environment. This project will investigate several revegetation techniques to deter colonization of invasive species on restoration sites in tidal wetlands to improve the potential for successful restoration efforts. Project outcomes will provide restoration strategies that limit invasion of vulnerable tidal systems, which will be put to immediate use by the Department of Water Resources in the planning and implementation of restoration projects, including the adjacent Dutch Slough Restoration Project, as well as several other regionally significant efforts.
The Cosumnes River Preserve (Preserve) proposes to restore 110 acres of priority wetlands located approximately five miles upstream from the legal Delta boundary. The project will immediately benefit the state and federally-listed “threatened” giant garter snake (Thamnophis gigas) and state listed “threatened” and “state fully protected” greater sandhill crane (Grus canadensis tabida), as well as many other species of special concern and federal-trust species of resident and migratory waterfowl and waterbirds. The project would restore the hydrologic function and condition of Horseshoe Lake by using heavy equipment to remove invasive Uruguayan water primrose (Ludwigia hexapetala) and its associated biomass and sediments, followed by aquatic herbicide applications for long-term primrose control. The project goals are to: 1) Contribute to the survival of both listed and non-listed species by providing perennial water with adequate aquatic prey in Horseshoe Lake; and 2) Restore local water storage capacity along the Cosumnes River to help recharge shallow perched water and deep aquifers, which may, in turn, help river flows to reconnect earlier in the fall/winter for migrating chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), while also curbing the need for drilling bigger and deeper water wells that could further exacerbate water problems in the lower Cosumnes River watershed and the downstream Delta. Upon completion of the project, the Preserve expects that Horseshoe Lake and the upstream reaches of Badger Creek east of Highway 99 will support giant garter snake, sandhill cranes, and other wetland dependent species with minimal annual management requirements.