California's Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) recently awarded Ducks Unlimited a $1,038,000 grant to improve the water supply and enhance wetland habitat on Gray Lodge Wildlife Area (WA) in the Sacramento Valley. Owned and managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, this 9,189-acre wildlife area is one of the most important wetland complexes in the Pacific Flyway, supporting as many as 1.9 million ducks and geese during the winter. Gray Lodge WA is also an important outdoor recreation area, hosting more than 60,000 visitors a year.
The WCB grant funds will be used to enhance 475 acres of wetlands and riparian habitat, and 83 acres of associated uplands, on six individual units. A new pump will be installed to improve water distribution and water-use efficiency, enhancing habitat for a variety of waterfowl, shorebirds, water birds, and other wildlife, including several special-status species. Some of this habitat enhancement work was completed on Gray Lodge WA this past summer. The new pump is scheduled to be installed this spring, and the remaining work will be completed by summer 2015.