Huichica Creek Native Grassland Restoration Project

The Huichica Creek Native Grassland Restoration Project was a collaborative effort between the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB), Ducks Unlimited (DU) and the California Department of Fish & Game (DFG) to restore approximately 25 acres of an abandoned pasture field located on the Napa-Sonoma Marshes State Wildlife Area into a native, perennial grassland. The grassland project complements an adjacent 77-acre DU wetland enhancement project.

grass inspection
Inspection and approval of native grass restoration.

The Huichica Creek Unit project area originally consisted primarily of introduced, annual grass species, such as Harding Grass and Rip-gut Brome, as well as many invasive noxious weeds. The restoration required weed and annual grass removal, seedbed preparation, native plant seeding and post-seeding management. The work was performed over four years, ending in April 2004.

A duck nest in the restored grassland.

Native grassland restoration is difficult. After several years of intensive management, the Huichica Creek Native Grassland Restoration Project had finally transformed a majority of the project area into native grass species. Nesting waterfowl were found in the area where seeding occurred, and it is likely that this site will maintain, if not increase, waterfowl production. Once this area has been solidly established as perennial grassland, seed will be harvested to be used for other native restoration efforts on the Wildlife Area.

Ample, dense grassland nesting cover is essential
for nesting success.