Working with the County of Sacramento, the Conservancy’s Alleghany 50 tract burrowing owl enhancement project is nearing completion. The project is being done by the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District as a mitigation project, and the Conservancy welcomed the opportunity to enhance the area to take advantage of a crop conversion experiment nearby.
The crop conversion experiment has acreage that normally would not be the best of ground to grow an alfalfa crop on. However, the Conservancy has provided an inducement for a farmer to take the risk and possibly experience lower yields at the site. This was done to provide greater foraging opportunities for Swainson’s hawk, since alfalfa is one of that raptor’s favorite foraging crops. However, burrowing owls appear to enjoy much of the same types of foraging conditions, and it is hoped that this burrowing owl project, once complete, will expand the range of the burrowing owls and provide even greater opportunities for their success.
The project follows a good year so far with burrowing owls. In the last few months, new colonies has been found in both the Conservancy’s North Basin Reserve Area and Central Basin Reserve Area (west). With some good fortune, next year the Alleghany 50 project will produce additional positive results.
Roger Jones, Senior Natural Resource Specialist for Sacramento County, is coordinating the project burrowing owl. Conservancy Executive Director John Roberts notes, “Roger and his team have done an excellent job on this project. It is a great example of how teaming up can make for the betterment of one of the Covered Species protected by the Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan.”