Gray Lodge Wildlife Area in the heart of California's Sacramento Valley provides vital habitat for up to 1 million ducks and 200,000 geese during the winter. It also provides numerous public recreational opportunities including, hunting, fishing, outdoor education and interpretation, hiking, wildlife viewing and photography. The wildlife area receives more than 60,000 visitors per year.
In Summer 2021, Ducks Unlimited completed a large-scale project that improved wetland habitat, public safety and wildlife viewing experience along the WA’s public auto-tour route. The project improved 577 acres of habitat, including 537 acres of seasonal, semi-permanent, and permanent wetlands, 25 acres of riparian habitat, and 15 acres of wetland-associated uplands.
Workers installed 38 new water-control structures, cleaned 4,800 linear feet of water conveyance canals and moved 300,000 cubic yards of material by recontouring the wetlands to remove high and low areas.
The project improved water distribution, efficiency and conveyance capabilities. It provided the necessary water and vegetation management capabilities to provide high-quality habitat and decrease mosquito production.
The project improved public safety and wildlife viewing along the auto-tour route by improving the auto-tour route levee side slopes and by providing vehicle turnouts. The levee side slopes were improved by creating broad gentle sloping side slopes in areas where the side slopes were steep and in areas with sharp turns. Vehicle turnouts were added to the levee to provide areas where vehicles can pull over and view wildlife and enjoy the serene outdoors along the public tour route.
Project partners included the California Wildlife Conservation Board and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Funding for the project was provided by the California Wildlife Conservation Board’s Habitat Conservation Fund.
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 more than 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.