As the Putah Creek Nature Park in Winters gears up to finish a decade-long restoration project, locals are voicing concerns over wildlife that call the last stretch of undeveloped land home.
In 2006, the City of Winters initiated a four-phase project to bring life back to the Putah Creek Nature Park. Since then, the project removed a damaged percolation dam and narrowed the channel along 7 out of 8 acres of the park. As the project moves into the final phase, however, locals are voicing concern over the last, untouched stretch of the park which is home to species of beaver and otter.
While this portion of the creek wasn’t visible before the new, wider pathway was put in during the earlier phases of the project, Hemenway says she’s worried that this final phase will drive away wildlife.
“We keep being told ‘(the beavers) will be back eventually.’ Well when is that?” Hemenway said, of the city’s response to her concerns.
“What we’re seeing now are unforeseen benefits from past phases of the project,” Brydolf said.
Beavers and otters weren’t found prior to the initial channel realignment phase that took place in 2011. Locals such as Caro and Brydolf were hoping the project would be reevaluated in light of the wildlife that have settled in the crook of the creek. Yet at the beginning of the month, they received notice that construction efforts would be pushed forward to the end of June, two months earlier than previously anticipated.
Winters is getting mighty uppity about their creek, and rightfully so. Not only do they have tons of new wildlife, they have a very rare beaver that is making waves from Colorado to Conneticut and beyond. People are beginning to understand that the “great plan” being implemented for Putah creek might not be all that great. I can’t think why. The city manager is obviously brilliant and very sensitive to the needs of wildlife.
City Manager Donlevy said a main reason for otters and beaver in the area is the improved fish populations.
Yes, it’s true, John. There’s nothing beavers like better after a hard day at the dam office than a nice fat trout. (I always suspected that herbivore nonsense was a smokescreen.) I’m sure you know best. It’s reassuring to realize how solidly you understand the needs of wildlife and creeks in undertaking a significant job like this. No wonder you can’t wait to finish. Sigh.
It’s September and this new design was needed. This should hasten fall along, don’t you think?