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Some impressive numbers from Dos Rios deal

Modesto Bee - May 25, 2012

Six miles of river frontage where the Tuolumne River joins the San Joaquin River west of Modesto; 1,603 acres of farmland; $21.8 million from multiple government, private and nonprofit sources. Ten years to put the deal together, with nine legal teams and 19 amendments to the original purchase agreement.

There are a lot of impressive numbers associated with the acquisition of Dos Rios Ranch as part of a network of wildlife preserves along the San Joaquin River. As reported in Tuesday's Bee, a sometimes unlikely network of supporters gathered Monday to celebrate this purchase of the Dos Rios Ranch from the Lyons family.

It will be take several more years before the land will be returned from farming to a more native habitat, providing conservation, flood control and a better environment for salmon, birds and other wildlife. Eventually, some of the site will be accessible to the public and school groups to learn more about and enjoy nature. Two local nonprofit groups, the Tuolumne River Trust and River Partners, will oversee the restoration project.

In the meantime, residents have access to a similar environment at the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge, one of our county's best-kept secrets. The refuge, just downstream from Dos Rios, offers a walking trail, picnic tables and restrooms, and is open daily. Take Highway 132 (Maze Boulevard) eight miles west of Modesto, turn south onto River Road and then left on Dairy Road.