The Grasslands Ecological Area is the contiguous block of wetlands in California. This vast wetland complex consists of a collection of federal, state, and private lands, which are all managed to benefit waterfowl and other wildlife.
Restore, Enhance and Protect
Ducks Unlimited has played an active role in wetland conservation activities in the Grasslands since 1986, when DU began making critical water conveyance enhancements in partnership with the Grassland Water District. To date, DU has helped to restore, enhance, or protect more than 132,000 acres of wetlands and associated habitat on 240 projects in this region. DU's partners in these efforts include 67 private landowners, six state wildlife areas, and six units of the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Complex. These projects were funded by more than $19.8 million in private, state, and federal dollars administered by DU.
Recent work in the Grasslands has focused on enhancing wetlands and associated uplands, while also improving water-use efficiency. For example, a new weir was recently built on the San Luis Canal, providing water more efficiently provide to several duck clubs in the area. Another project features the restoration of a 10-mile stretch of the Santa Fe Canal, which will improve water-delivery capabilities, decrease maintenance costs, and provide wildlife-friendly habitat. In addition, dilapidated weirs and inefficient water-delivery structures will be replaced with newly designed structures to deliver water to various private and publicly owned wetland habitats in the south Grasslands.
Several popular public hunting areas have seen similar enhancements in the past year that will provide better waterfowling opportunities. Projects were completed on the Los Banos, North Grasslands, and Volta wildlife areas that will allow managers to better manage habitat while also using less water. In partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Board, an upcoming project on the Los Banos Wildlife Area will involve installing three low-lift pumping stations that will give habitat managers the ability to lift and reuse water for wetland-management purposes.