The last task was recently completed on the Conservancy’s first restoration and enhancement project, bringing the habitat construction effort on the site to a close. Now the Conservancy fine tunes its management of the site for the benefit of species covered under the Natomas Basin Habitat Conservation Plan (NBHCP). (An aerial photo of a portion of the Conservancy’s BKS preserve appears in the banner at the top of this home page.) Wildlife has already begun to populate the preserve, including some recent exciting sitings.
Conservancy Board member David Christophel recently visited the site and observed nearly 1,000 white faced ibis and two loggerhead shrikes. “It was encouraging to see these two covered species using the preserve,” noted Christophel, a wildlife biologist by profession. Christophel also observed burrowing owls, another of the covered species under the NBHCP.
“We’d seen burrowing owls on the site before the restoration and enhancement project began,” Christophel noted. “But I hadn’t seen white-faced ibises or loggerhead shrikes there before.”
The 338-acre preserve lies mostly in the Sacramento County portion of the Natomas Basin along the Sacramento-Sutter County line. It represents the first three farms acquired by the Conservancy and converted to managed marsh and upland foraging area.
The Conservancy acquires land to offset the impacts of urbanization, which most often displaces habitat for the covered species. Especially with the Conservancy’s restoration and enhancement construction projects, mitigation land is designed to serve as sanctuary for the NBHCP-covered species so that their populations can recover.
Conservancy monitoring efforts this year also identified two giant garter snakes in a drainage ditch along the preserve’s perimeter. Tri-colored blackbirds, also covered species under the NBHCP, have been known to exist on the property for many years, making the site even more valuable as a key part of the Conservancy’s reserve system.
A complete listing of the NBHCP’s covered species can be found on the Conservancy’s web site in the “About Us,” section in the left hand column. Click on “The NBHCP Species.”