Yolo County Water District and California Conservation Fund Team up on Water Storage and Habitat Conservation Project
The Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District and the California Conservation Fund (CCF), a California non-profit public benefit corporation, have announced the joint purchase of the 320 acre Knight Ranch, located in the Dunnigan Hills northwest of Woodland.
The dual purpose of the acquisition is to develop an off-stream water storage reservoir and to create a wildlife habitat conservation project. The wetland and upland habitat features of the reservoir design will encourage native resident wildlife as well as migratory birds moving along the Pacific Flyway. The reservoir will also provide flood control, water quality and recreational benefits.
Initial estimates indicate that creation of a reservoir on the site could provide up to 8,000 acre-feet of new water storage.
District Chairman Bruce Rominger explained that the joint purchase represents an exciting opportunity to develop a multi-benefit water resources facility. “The project will require significant planning and research. A partner like the CCF definitely helps us to fulfill both our water resource and environmental stewardship missions”.
The CCF’s primary purpose is the promotion and protection of natural resources through the preservation, conservation and management of significant wetland areas and associated uplands located in California.
Charles P. Tyson, a member of the Board of Directors of the Yolo Land Trust and an advisor to CCF, noted that this is the first conservation project that the CCF has done in partnership with a public agency. “This is a natural fit with CCF’s mission because it will establish a relationship with a progressive water agency whose Directors and management share a common vision of incorporating environmental values into essential water supply infrastructure”. Tyson added, “The Water District provides CCF with a partner who understands local Yolo County agricultural and environmental values and which will be able to sustain the project for the long term.”
The first step for the partnership is to begin the feasibility and environmental planning processes. “The District has already invested in water supply, groundwater and environmental studies over the last decade. This will allow us to move quickly to establish the economic and environmental feasibility of this off-stream reservoir and wildlife habitat conservation project” Rominger stated. “It is vitally important to the District to ensure the inclusion of local interests and potential benefits for our region in an open public planning process”, he continued.
The Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District manages the Clear Lake and Cache Creek water systems.