An abandoned railroad trestle in the southern part of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is getting a new look as part of a habitat restoration project led by the Yolo County Resource Conservation District. The earthen mounds originally designed to elevate a train track will now provide refuge from rising floodwaters for animals that otherwise can’t escape.
The project will construct two east-west corridors across the bypass, one incorporating the trestle mounds and one perched on a low levee. The bypass normally fills with water from east to west, so that animals will be able to follow dry ground westward under the cover of shrubs that will be planted. All told, the project area will include twenty acres of native prairie and three acres of seasonal wetland.
The project includes a half-acre demonstration native-plant garden next to Parking Lot A, near the start of the auto tour loop. It will feature floodplain meadow and streamside woodland plants that grow, or used to grow, naturally in the Yolo Bypass.
The RCD and partner organizations will arrange for community volunteers to go to the site to plant and tend the vegetation. They expect a dozen community stewardship events and three field days for high school students, starting this fall. These events will provide the chief public access to the sites.
The project is being built in cooperation with the CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, which owns the Wildlife Area. Its $700,000 budget comes from Proposition 1, as a grant from the Delta Conservancy, part of the California Natural Resources Agency. Planting began last year, and will continue into 2021.
For more information, email the project manager, Alex Tremblay.