San Joaquin River habitat to be conserved

MODESTO
May 23, 2012 11:48am
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•  Historic Dos Rios Ranch acquired

•  ‘Creating a unique swath of conservation, flood control and recreation opportunities’


Two Central Valley non-profit organizations -- the Tuolumne River Trust and River Partners – with help from federal, state, and local agencies have acquired the historic Dos Rios Ranch, some 1,600 acres of land at the confluence of the Tuolumne and San Joaquin rivers in Stanislaus County.

The acquisition is expected to mean preservation of hundreds of acres of wildlife habitat and riverfront park in the heart of California.

“Dos Rios Ranch is a model for conservation and restoration projects,” says U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. “It brings together a host of federal, state, local and private partners to protect and rehabilitate vitally important lands in the Central Valley.”

The acquired floodplain includes three miles of riverfront on the San Joaquin River and three miles on the Tuolumne River.

“The Dios Rios Ranch habitat will connect the Tuolumne River Parkway and San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge projects, creating a unique swath of conservation, flood control and recreation opportunities in the heart of California,” says Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Modesto. “It will be a treasure in the San Joaquin Valley for generations to come.”

The project is expected to help boost the Central Valley's economy by generating business for area suppliers and locally-based labor and contractor jobs for restoration and maintenance of the property. The recreation opportunities also will attract new patrons to area businesses.

“An awful lot of California's wildlife habitat has been mined, dredged, polluted or paved-over, and habitat loss leads to species decline. Healthy fish and wildlife populations are important parts of California's above average quality of life,” says Charlton Bonham, California Department of Fish and Game Director. “When we can combine habitat protection with flood control, recreation and educational opportunities, we create something of value for everyone.”

River Partners President John Carlon says the protection and restoration of Dos Rios Ranch will create jobs in the community, benefit wildlife in the 800-mile river system, and improve flood protection and public safety for California. “It is a model project on many levels. It successfully leverages federal, state, and local funding. It brings the agriculture and conservation communities together; and it builds on ongoing conservation efforts in the valley,” he says.

Over the next five to 10 years, property owner River Partners, a Central Valley-based nonprofit created to help the fields of habitat restoration and agriculture work together, and the Tuolumne River Trust will restore the property.

The project, which uses no money from the state general fund, is paid for by voter-approved bond measures and grant programs dedicated for flood control projects, river parks, and wildlife restoration. This $21.8 million project is being funded by several federal, state, local and private funding sources.


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