Record-Breaking 2018 Spring Planting Season

Dos Rios Ranch. Left of the levee, a three year-old forest planted in Phase 1. Right, a field among the 575 acres on the site ready to be planted this spring.

As we celebrate our 20th anniversary this year, River Partners has restored and permanently protected 11,000 historic floodplain acres, comprising 358 projects on 13 rivers in California.

This spring, we will plant 1,500 acres, the largest spring planting season in our history. River Partners’ 2018 plantings are the two largest current floodplain restoration projects in California.

Dos Rios Ranch represents a first: an unprecedented investment of state and federal funding in the San Joaquin Valley. Dos Rios Ranch is a keystone part of the largest contiguous riparian habitat restoration initiative in California. For more than three years, we have been working with neighbors, water districts, wildlife agencies, the Reclamation District, our funding partners and regulators to carefully design earth-moving and planting activities at this 1600-acre property. Our efforts are bringing life back to the floodplain and providing enhanced flood security, water supply and quality.

Local students in the SLEWS (Student Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship) Program planted trees recently and learned about Dos Rios Ranch’s unique restoration opportunities. Photo by James Scott.

River Partners is also leading from the field on the first and only combined levee setback and ecosystem restoration project in the country authorized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The construction of a new 6.8-mile setback levee will reduce flood risk for the community of Hamilton City and will reconnect 1,480 acres of floodplain to the Sacramento River.

This spring, we are planting 925 acres of new riparian habitat, including cottonwood riparian forest, valley oak woodland, elderberry savanna, and grassland inside the new setback levee. To complete this monumental effort, we are planting 194,000 plants, over 16,000 pounds of native grass seed, and installing 254 miles of drip irrigation tube. The largest riparian restoration project in California will reconnect the floodplain with the river and support the recovery of several endangered species, including Chinook salmon, valley elderberry longhorn beetle, yellow-billed cuckoo, and many other birds and mammals.

Hamilton City project nursery. We are planting 925 acres of new riparian habitat – 194,000 plants – inside the new setback levee.

The above article originally appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of the River Partners Journal.