Transcript for Wetlands Regained, segment 05 of 8
This effort comes with unique challenges. One will be finding a way to create, preserve, and operate wetlands as a single ecological unit in harmony with neighboring land uses. All habitat types are important because different vegetation supports different species. Restoring and maintaining wildlife diversity will depend on restoring diverse habitat.
Existing habitat within the boundaries of the San Joaquin Basin Action Plan includes grasslands, wetlands, riparian or streamside areas, and croplands, but much of the land is degraded and of little value for habitat.
Much of the native grassland is overgrazed. Unmanaged marshes, sloughs, and oxbows have unreliable water supplies since natural flooding no longer occurs. With restoration and management under the action plan, these lands can be reclaimed as prime habitat. Grasslands will be restored by reestablishing annual and perennial grasses that are indigenous to the area. Some croplands will continue to be planted to produce food for migratory birds. Riparian land will also be reclaimed and managed as habitat.
Seasonal marshes that are flooded only during winter rains will be improved by assuring a more reliable water supply. Manmade levees and dikes will control water levels in marshes. Fifty-two thousand acre feet of water from the federal Central Valley Project is already committed for use on these lands. Other possibilities include better management of supplies by conjunctive use of surface and ground waters and additional supplies from the Central Valley Project. Also, the newly purchased lands have water rights. To insure water quality for wetlands, the partner agencies are also working with neighboring water districts, such as the Grassland Water District and Resource Conservation District.