California Drought Water Reclamation Program
California Drought Water Reclamation Program

Reclamation releases Todisco Ranch Conservation Project Environmental Assessment

The Bureau of Reclamation has prepared an Environmental Assessment on providing the Central Valley Project Conservation Program and the Central Valley Project Improvement Act Habitat Restoration Program with $576,000 to purchase a conservation easement on the Todisco Ranch.

Located in Madera County, the easement would preserve 480 acres of grasslands, oak woodlands, stock pond, vernal (temporary) pools and wetland swales in Madera County to protect and conserve critical aquatic and upland habitats. This acreage would be used for federally and state threatened California tiger salamander, as well as habitat for vernal pool species including the federally threatened vernal pool fairy shrimp and endangered vernal pool tadpole shrimp.

According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services’ Sacramento office, California tiger salamanders in the Central Valley are threatened and the species is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range, but they are not in danger of extinction at this time.

Federally threatened vernal pool fairy shrimp is a small crustacean related to lobsters and crabs. They are necessary in the ecosystems food chain for the migratory waterfowl such as Canada geese, great blue heron, tundra swan, mallards and pintails that make pit stops at California’s vernal pools during their long flights from as far away as South America to Alaska. The vernal pools bear the promise of food, fuel and lodging. High in protein, the little crustacean is an important food source for the journeying birds, as well as the local crowd of insects, other crustaceans and amphibians.

The vernal pool tadpole shrimp is a freshwater crustacean. The main threat to this species is the continued loss of its vernal pool habitat to agricultural and urban development, in addition the degrading of its habitat as a result of overgrazing, off-road vehicle use, invasive plant species and contamination from fertilizers and pesticides. In 2003 it was estimated that only nine percent of the vernal pool habitat in California’s Central Valley remained. The vernal pool tadpole shrimp is also an ecosystem necessity and in 1994 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) gave the vernal pool tadpole shrimp protection as an endangered species. Any projects which could directly or indirectly affect the vernal pool tadpole shrimp must first obtain a permit from the FWS which will only be issued if the continued existence of the vernal pool tadpole shrimp will not be jeopardized.

The Environmental Assessment for the Todisco Ranch Conservation Project was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and is available for review at: Written comments are due close of business Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, and should be sent to Doug Kleinsmith, Bureau of Reclamation, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825. You can also email comments to [email protected] or fax to 916-978-5055. For additional information, please contact Kleinsmith at 916-978-5034 (TTY 800-877-8339).

Check Also

Water board adopts emergency regulations to protect Clear Lake hitch

State adopts water conservation regulation

While most of the state was getting ready to celebrate the 4th of July, the …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *