Yolo Bypass Wildlife Environment

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For almost as long as humans have been on Earth, we have changed landscapes drastically to suit our needs, historically often without regard to the damage caused in the process. This has changed over time, with the passing of legislation like the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, the creation of national and state parks, and efforts being made to restore degraded ecosystems. While we may never see perfect natural systems again, especially in areas heavily populated by humans, reconciliation is possible. Reconciliation ecology takes the concepts of restoration ecology, in which managers seek to restore an ecosystem to how it used to be at a particular time, and combines them with inevitable human presence. It uses these factors…show more content…
The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (YBWA) is a 15,830-acre intensely managed ecosystem consisting of seasonal wetlands, ponds that can be filled or drained to suit management goals, rice fields, and grasslands. It also contains hiking trails, an auto tour route, and hunting areas. The YBWA is an example of successful reconciliation ecology, as it provides a home for numerous species of waterfowl and those that occur with them, while combining agriculture, recreation, hunting, and active management. The YBWA provides an essential home to numerous species of birds. The presence of birds was abundantly evident from the moment I pulled into the YBWA. I rolled down my windows as I drove up to the auto tour road and was flooded with the sound of birdsong. While I was…show more content…
While providing a source of money needed to accomplish management programs at the YBWA, the rice fields also provide a food source for ducks and temporary habitat for waterfowl, as the fields are re-flooded post-harvest. This is a vast improvement from the previous strategy of burning the fields post-harvest, as that was a source of air pollution. Most of the 15,000 acres of the YBWA is inaccessible to recreational hikers, though there are a few trails scattered throughout. Provided hikers are conscientious, their impact is likely to be minimal and come incidentally from car runoff. Most of the species I saw at the YBWA seemed to not mind the presence of cars or hikers much, though the blackbirds continuously flushed as I hiked along the parking lot C trail. Hunting impacts individual ducks immediately, but may be compensatory. In addition to these uses of the YBWA, the ecosystem is actively
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