Butte Basin NAWCA II: Rancho Esquon Restoration Project

This project is one of 10 individual project sites included in the Butte Basin and Colusa Trough Wetland Habitat Project. New work conducted by the overall project improved 2,573 acres of habitat in this region. The region is extremely important for migrating and wintering waterfowl, shorebirds, and other waterbirds. The Central Valley, which includes this region, winters up to 90% of the Pacific Flyway's population of northern pintails and about 60% of its overall population of waterfowl. At times, the Central Valley supports 20% of the continent's waterfowl population. In addition to providing critical habitat for waterfowl, the Butte Basin and Colusa Trough region is also of major importance to several special-status species including the giant garter snake, spring-run chinook salmon, winter-run chinook salmon, and Central Valley steelhead.

Waterfowl on the new project

The habitat improvement work accomplished by the overall project is extremely important. The project increased wetland acreage for migrating and wintering waterfowl and other waterbirds, increased riparian acreage for neotropical migrants, improved water quality, improved water conveyance and control capabilities to allow better habitat management and improve efficiency of water use, and provided fish-safe water to many acres of wetlands and wildlife-friendly agriculture (i.e., winter flooded rice).

Rice Fields Restored to Wetlands

Rancho Esquon is a private property located in the Butte Basin. Work at the site restored 200 acres of palustrine emergent wetlands and 33 acres of palustrine forested wetlands on former rice ground. Project work consisted of restoring wetland contours, constructing levees and swales, installing water control structures, and planting riparian vegetation. This work improved habitat conditions for neotropical migrants, waterfowl, and a variety of other wildlife.