Habitat Restoration Project Coming Soon To North Davis

(From Press Release) – The City of Davis announced today that three acres of City-owned, vacant land at the corner of F Street and Anderson Road will soon be transformed into a new wildlife habitat area with walking paths for the public to enjoy. A groundbreaking for the site will take place on Saturday, July 27, at 9:30 a.m. Details will follow on Facebook and Nextdoor.

The City’s newest open space area, named the North Davis Upland Habitat Area, will feature native plantings (i.e., new trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers), accessible walking gravel paths, natural seating areas, pond overlook areas and interpretive panels.

“The community has long wanted something done with this site and I am excited about turning it into an open space that the community can enjoy and wildlife can use as actual habitat,” said City Councilmember Will Arnold, who is the liaison to the Open Space and Habitat Commission. “I am happy to see the City’s open space preservation parcel tax used in this way.”

Over the summer, the City will be realigning the fence to expand the open space area, grading the site to give the new open space some contouring, and controlling the weeds without the use of herbicides. The entire site will be solarized over the summer under reusable greenhouse plastic, which will kill the thick bed of invasive seeds.

Over the winter, the entire site will be blanketed with native grasses and wildflowers (also known as “forbs”). At this time, the City will also be installing a half-mile of new trails that will be fully ADA accessible. The City also will be planting a 900-foot hedgerow and about a quarter-acre of drainage swales, all with locally sourced native plants. Rocks of varying heights also will be placed so that visitors can sit down and take a rest along the trail.

The site will be open to the public during the spring of 2020, but the habitat restoration won’t be totally complete at that time. During the winter of 2020, the City will plant about 50 new native trees and about 750 native shrubs to round out the restoration.

The three-year, $250,000 project is a collaboration between the City, the Open Space and Habitat Commission and the Friends of North Davis Ponds. It also stems from community feedback the City received during a public outreach effort in 2016. The community expressed an interest in seeing more habitat restoration projects done within the city limits using money from the City’s open space protection parcel tax, which generates about $700,000 a year for the acquisition and maintenance of the City’s open space areas (which do not include parks and greenbelts). The parcel tax is funding two-thirds of the project cost.

“Friends of North Davis Ponds are excited and grateful to the Councilmembers and Open Space and Habitat Commissioners who voted to create the North Davis Upland Habitat Area,” said Jean Jackman, one of the founders of the Friends of North Davis Ponds. “For more than 25 years, various citizens groups have been advocating for open space and lobbied against projects that we deemed inappropriate at this site. This new open space is a logical extension and boundary for the Julie Partansky Wildlife Area, and it will preserve important habitat used by over 200 bird species and 34 species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles.”

The project will provide additional wildlife habitat within the city, allow residents to enjoy nature and learn about the natural environment close to home, provide additional recreational opportunities close to home, and provide additional access to nature for people with accessibility needs.

The site will be closed to the public beginning in the summer of 2019 through the winter of 2020. The City expects to open the City’s newest open space area to the public in the spring of 2020. The habitat restoration will be complete in the summer of 2022. More information can be found on the City’s website at: https://cityofdavis.org/constructionprojects

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  1. Bill Marshall

    Interesting… this project will likely permanently cut off the best opportunity for a grade-separated OC of F and the RR for bike ped… note the faint black lines heading south, then turning east.  That project was in the MPFP.  Last pointed out during the planning for the Cannery project.

    Back when the site was proposed to be dedicated to the City, several of the City’s engineers realized the opportunity for the OC and/or a well site…a test well was drilled… “dry hole”

    But, appears the die is cast… fait accompli… last best chance for the grade-separated crossing…

    1. Matt Williams

      Bill, based on the information I have received in the past from Tracie Reynolds, who is both the Staff Liaison for the Open Space and Habitat Commission and the Manager of the Open Space Program established by the passage of Measure O in 2000, the plans for the habitat area were very specifically created in order to accommodate any future overpass right of way issues.

      A technically appropriate landing spot for such an overpass was preserved.  All of the things you’d want are preserved for when/if such an overpass becomes more than a figment of our imagination.  In the meantime the space is providing real tangible benefit to the stakeholders of Davis and the surrounding region.

      1. Bill Marshall

        That was far from clear from the article, or the website… I stand (actually, right now, sit) partially corrected… but I can just hear now the outrage from many to disturb an “established restored nature area”, when the time comes… do you not see that?

        So, for the next 20-50 years, no way can I see selling the vocal parts of the public “stonewalling” any use other than the current project… see press release and City website… they’ll call it ‘bait and switch’… a potential for a bike/ped overcrossing is not in “the advertising”… do you not agree?

        A bike/ped overcrossing possibility is NOT in the narrative…

      2. Matt Williams

        You have been staff on many projects.  If all the details were covered, each staff report would be as long as War and Peace. 

        You must have missed the Council meetings where the discussions of the site as a Bicycle Pump Track happened.  Or the Council meetings where the discussions of the site as an Affordable Housing project happened. The public communication regarding this project has been extensive … more extensive than the vast majority of City of Davis projects.  A bike/ped overcrossing possibility was ABSOLUTELY part of the narrative.

        Does that guarantee your future possibility won’t happen?  ABSOLUTELY not.  This is Davis after all.


    2. Bill Marshall

      Oh… the touch down point to the east was in what was known as the Covell Village proposal… like that will never be developed, surrounded on three sides by urban development, with good access to water, sanitary sewer, and drainage facilities… c’est la vie, ou c’est le guerre…

    3. Alan Miller

      I don’t see why this blocks an overcrossing.

      As for people complaining, possible. Similar to rails to trails which preserves linear right-of-way for future rail use –> trail users go ape S when, on rare occasions, a trail is actually proposed to go back to rail use.

  2. Don Shor

    Aside from the benefits to wildlife, this will be a fantastic educational resource and is an excellent use of Measure O funds. Unlike most Measure O protected sites, it will be fully accessible and provide opportunities for the public to see Valley Grassland native plants in a setting similar to what might have existed on the site before urbanization.

    We don’t get opportunities like this very often. So congratulations and thanks to all who pushed this forward and are helping it become reality.

    1. Bill Marshall

      see Valley Grassland native plants in a setting similar to what might have existed on the site before urbanization.

      More accurately, before it was converted to Ag/farming… it was not urbanization that converted the land from natural… it was Ag/farming.  Thought you knew that, Don, or do you consider farming to be ‘urbanization’?

      Sequence… natural/native; Ag/farming; urban…

  3. Bill Marshall

    BTW, does anyone know the underlying zoning of the property?  I can’t check today, as CO is closed.

    If not, will check tomorrow… at one time, know it was proposed as MFR/affordable… don’t recall anything coming out of that…

    One may wonder whether the proposed project is consistent with underlying zoning… may well/likely be

    1. Alan Miller

      BTW, does anyone know the underlying zoning of the property?

      It doesn’t matter.  Zoning has been declared EVIL by Scott Weiner, and soon there will be no more zoning, just like the beautiful city of Houston, Texas.

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