Yolo County, Calif., Aug. 6, 2020 Construction crews installed two bridges in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (Wildlife Area) Aug. 5, part of a larger construction project taking place this summer to create new habitat, improve wetlands management and support wildlife-friendly agriculture.

A 350-ton hydraulic truck crane placed the precast concrete bridges, that replace narrow pipes regularly blocked by beavers and debris, improving drainage and water supply in the Wildlife Area. The bridges are part of a $4 million project scheduled for completion in October. More improvements are planned for the summer 2021, if additional funding is secured.

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy and the Wildlife Conservation Board are jointly funding the summer 2020 project. The Yolo County Board of Supervisors supported the improvements as part of the Boards efforts to enhance the Yolo Bypass and support the Wildlife Area. The investments in infrastructure will:

Create 200 acres of new wetlands

Increase the productivity of existing wetlands

Improve management for rice fields

Reduce on-site flooding from the South Davis Drain

Improve access for the public and K-12 environmental education program

We are truly blessed to have such a vibrant Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area right here in Yolo County, said California Department of Fish and Wildlife Area Manager Joe Hobbs. This improvement project provides a much-needed upgrade that allows us to manage the areas drainage so that our regions wildlife species can continue to thrive.

This project was funded by the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy in its first cycle of the Ecosystem Restoration and Water Quality (Proposition 1) Grant Program. The Wildlife Conservation Board recently approved a grant to fully fund this phase of the project.

Parker Pond Unit improvements will restore 220 acres of land through the installation of a new low lift pump, said Ducks Unlimited Regional Biologist and project manager Aaron Will. By increasing water supply and reliability, we can restore seasonal wetland habitat for waterfowl and other wetland dependent species.

The project enjoys partnerships and contributions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Board, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Ducks Unlimited, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Consero Solutions and the Yolo Basin Foundation. These groups worked together to apply for funding and secure needed permits, including donating staff time as necessary to accomplish milestones when funding was not available. The partners continue to seek additional improvements scheduled for construction in 2021.

Public access to the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is not anticipated to be affected during construction. Check the Yolo Basin Foundation Facebook page to stay up to date on progress and any temporary road closures.

For more information contact Aaron Will at (916) 494-3293 or awill@ducks.org.

Follow DUs newest Twitter feed @DUNews1937 to get the most up-to-date news from Ducks Unlimited.

About the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area: Located in the Yolo Bypass in Yolo County, the 16,770-acre Wildlife Area is managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife with the intent of restoring and managing a variety of wildlife habitats in the Yolo Basin, a natural basin in the north part of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The Wildlife Area plays a vital role for flood control, local agriculture, water resources and habitat for critical endangered species and other wildlife as well as provides valuable public access for education and recreation activities.

About Ducks Unlimited

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved almost 15 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.