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Feather River Wildlife Area - Abbott Lake Unit Riparian Restoration, Sutter County

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The Feather River Wildlife Area (WA) Abbott Lake Unit consists of 439 acres located along the Feather River . It is owned by the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) and managed to provide riparian habitat for migratory birds and special-status species and public opportunities for wildlife-oriented recreation. This project will restore 19 acres of riparian habitat on the Unit.
 
The Abbott Lake Unit is currently dominated by invasive vegetation and supports a limited amount of native riparian vegetation. This project will restore native riparian vegetation, decrease riparian habitat fragmentation, and improve habitat conditions for waterfowl and numerous neotropical migratory songbirds and several special-status species along the Feather River corridor. Elderberry shrubs will be planted specifically to provide habitat for the federally threatened valley elderberry longhorn beetle. Other special-status species that will benefit from this work include western yellow-billed cuckoo, willow flycatcher, and salmon.
 
Project work will include developing a detailed restoration design for vegetation; chemically treating invasive vegetation to prepare the site for restoration; collecting and propagating local plant material needed for restoration; planting native trees, shrubs, and grasses; installing a well and temporary irrigation system to support the new plantings; irrigating the plantings; mowing and spraying to control weeds; and monitoring survival of the planted vegetation. Approximately 2,940 native trees and shrubs, 8,330 native grass plugs, and 167 pounds of native grass seed will be planted. Protective cages will be installed around the trees, shrubs, and grass plugs. Irrigation, weed control, and vegetation monitoring will be conducted for 2 years.
Historically, the Abbott Lake Unit supported primarily Great Valley cottonwood riparian forest, Great Valley mixed riparian forest, and permanent wetland habitats. Abbott Lake is a permanent lake and its level fluctuates with the level of the Feather River . When the Feather River rises, water backs into Abbott Lake through the lake's outlet channel. The lake level is also influenced by underground seepage from the river.
 
Public uses of the Unit include fishing; boating; waterfowling, upland game, and deer hunting; and bird watching. Portions of the area are accessible only by boat. CDFG regulates public use, including where the public is allowed and season of access. Routine habitat management activities that are conducted on the property include chemically treating and mechanically removing invasive vegetation and planting native riparian trees, shrubs, and grasses.
 
More than 90% of the historic riparian habitat in California 's Central Valley has been lost. Riparian habitat has been reduced to less than 5% of its historic range in California . The riparian habitat that remains along the Feather River provides critical habitat for numerous wildlife species, including many special-status species.
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