California rice is planted on the historic wetland clay soils. These fields provide habitat for over 230 different species, including waterfowl and shorebirds. Davis Ranches has participated in post-harvest field treatment studies to improve the benefits of this seasonal floodplain habitat.
After the rice is harvested in the fall, the residual straw is baled and remaining organic material is disked into the ground. The fields are then re-flooded to varying depths to provide wetland habitat for over 30 bird species. This water also helps with decomposition of the rice straw, which benefits the soil structure and keeps air quality clean. At Davis Ranches alone, we provide over 2,000 acres of seasonal floodplain habitat.
Post-harvest practices have been developed and endorsed by Audubon California, NRCS, USFWS, Point Blue, and The Nature Conservancy.
Sustainable farm practices and conservation are central to our mission at Davis Ranches. We believe that creating native habitat is our duty as good stewards of the land and that there are many benefits for agriculture by integrating habitat into a working agricultural landscape.
Over the past six years, our work with Audubon California and other restoration partners has allowed us to consciously and responsibly re-establish essential riparian habitat throughout our ranch; nearly 20 acres.
Our hedgerows have been recognized by the UC Extension, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, local RCD and NRCS office, as well as many other community groups and they have provided many educational opportunities for many farmers and conservationists.
We have several partners that help make these restoration projects successful:
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services - Partners Program
Wildlife Conservation Board
Sacramento River Area Conservation Forum
California Waterfowl Association
Colusa County Resource Conservation District
Colusa County Natural Resource Conservation Service
Center For Land-based Learning SLEWS Program
Colusa High School Environmental Science Academy
Since 2011, the USGS has been studying the presence of Giant Garter Snakes at Davis Ranches. Two major studies have been conducted focusing on occupancy and movement of these snakes.
Using the research results, we are hoping to develop more efficient water management practices that benefit the species.
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