Types of Projects
The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program can provide both technical and financial assistance to private landowners who wish to improve their land for the benefit of wildlife. Listed below are some of the more common types of projects done here in California. While most of the Partners projects fit into one or more of these categories, we are always interested in new and inventive ways promote the restoration of native habitats.
Wetland Restoration projects aim to bring back the wetland hydrology and vegetation that once existed on the site prior to human disturbance. Wetlands provide habitat for numerous species of wildlife to feed, nest, and/or raise their young. Restoration of these valuable systems can usually be accomplished by filling or blocking drainage ditches or by removing or breaching dikes. Many times, however, the hydrology, or the way water moves across the land, has been altered so much that restoring a wetland to its original state is not practical. For this reason, many of our wetland restoration projects utilize small levees and water control devices that allow management of the water to mimic historic conditions and enhance wildlife habitat.
Wetland Enhancement projects involve existing wetlands that are degraded due to some human disturbance. Some of the more common disturbances that degrade wetlands include partial draining or rerouting of water, overuse by livestock, and accelerated filling due to erosion in the watershed. Enhancement projects aim to bring existing wetlands back to historic conditions and enhance wildlife habitat.
Riparian Restoration and Enhancement projects involve the habitat adjacent to streams and other waterways. Riparian areas are important because they provide habitat for numerous species of fish and wildlife and can help improve water quality by filtering out sediment and pollutants. However, over 95% of the historic streamside trees, shrubs, and ground vegetation in California has been lost as a result of urbanization, agricultural conversion, vegetation clearing for flood control, livestock grazing, and invasion of nonnative plant species. Restoration can be accomplished by fencing along the riparian zone to control livestock and planting trees and other vegetation. Riparian habitats are also being restored by removing nonnative invasive riparian plants.
In-stream Aquatic Habitat Restoration involves bringing back the features of a stream, such as riffles, pools, meanders, and woody debris, which are important for fish and other aquatic organisms. Channel banks and bottoms are stabilized, low-flow channels and bank-full benches are reestablished, and rootwads, logs, rock and other revetment materials are installed to protect the banks and provide habitat and cover for fish, amphibians, invertebrates, and other aquatic life. In-stream restoration is usually enhanced by restoring the associated riparian habitat.
Native Vegetation Restoration projects in California frequently involve reestablishing native upland grasses in areas that have been degraded due to overgrazing or the invasion of nonnative annuals. Restored fully-functioning native plant communities provide better food and cover for grassland-associated migratory songbirds, nesting waterfowl, and threatened and endangered species than the typical nonnative annual plant community dominated by one or a few species. The reestablishment of native plant communities is actually a general concept consistent in all of our restoration projects. The use of native trees, shrubs, and ground cover is an integral part of our wetland or riparian projects.
Removal of Exotic Plants can significantly increase the value of wetlands, riparian areas, and uplands for wildlife. Many times, competition from exotic plants is the primary obstacle in reestablishing native plant communities. Therefore, the removal or control of exotic plants is another general concept consistent in all of our restoration projects.
Environmental Education is an important part of preserving and restoring native habitats for the future. Each year we participate in several projects focused on educating students and the public about the value of native habitats. Most of these projects involve habitat restoration sites where students or the public can have a hands-on experience. We also provide assistance and funding to develop interpretive materials that enhance the educational experience. Teachers and other educators are encouraged to call and discuss opportunities with our staff. For one example of how habitat restoration can enhance environmental education, see our "Partnerships for a Shrimp" article.
For more information on the types of projects conducted by California Partners for Fish and Wildlife, take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions.