At least two burrowing owls have moved onto the Conservancy’s Elsie tract. They’re occupying one or more burrows in a ditch enhancement project we constructed there last summer.
The enhancement effort involved taking 4,000 cubic yards of soil from the Elsie tract and moving it up against the Natomas Water Company’s highline ditch running along the northern boundary of the property. The movement of the soil was part of the Conservancy’s Elsie tract rice field leveling project last summer. Precise engineering plans were used to shave soil off the 160-acre Elsie tract rice field for use in substantially enhancing the southerly side of the Water Company’s highline ditch. The idea was that by enhancing the highline ditch, it would ultimately be good for burrowing owls and giant garter snakes. What is surprising is that the burrowing owls are actively using the enhancement before it is even a year old.
Special thanks must go to the Natomas Central Mutual Water Company for its cooperation, and also, Sopwith Farms, which conducted the work. It is nice to know that the time and money spent on these types of enhancements brings reward, and does so quickly.