Results and Accomplishments
The mission of the Landowner Stewardship Program is to work with private landowners to conserve and restore wildlife habitat on farms and ranches while preserving or enhancing the economic conditions for agriculture. From 1999-2005 Landowner Stewardship Program achievements include:
Landowner participation and training—32 landowners participated in 40 restoration projects ranging in habitat from riparian, wetland and native perennial grasslands. As a result, on-the-ground examples of working landscapes or “farming with the wild” now exist throughout the region along habitat and riparian corridors. Audubon held numerous landowner training workshops on topics such as constructing wildlife ponds, implementing riparian restoration, managing rangelands, and the use of prescribed fire in grassland restoration and weed abatement.
Habitat restoration and conservation—The 40 projects undertaken were implemented in Willow Slough, a 191 square mile watershed located north of Winters, California in Yolo County as part of the Willow Slough Watershed Integrated Resources Management Plan. Audubon completed and is working on additional riparian restoration in the Lower Putah Creek system, a 30 mile reach of Putah Creek. With the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection we have implemented a 45,000 acre vegetation management plan which conducts prescribed burns on private lands throughout Yolo County's rangelands.
Farm and Nature Center—Center for Land-based Learning and Audubon developed a farm-based outdoor education complex, office, nursery and greenhouse known as the Farm on Putah Creek to connect the public to nature and agriculture. More than 3,000 visitors have attended various Center events and nearly one million students are within one hour’s drive of the Center.
Hands-on education—More than 1,500 school children, many from underserved populations, assisted in restoration projects through the Student Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship Program (SLEWS), a partnership between Audubon and Center for Land-Based Learning.
Collaborative partnerships—Audubon has built lasting partnerships with local landowners, Center for Land-Based Learning, The Yolo and Solano County RCDs, NRCS, Putah Creek Council, Lower Putah Creek Coordinating Committee, and other local organizations.
Applied conservation and restoration research—Audubon has led and managed critical applied restoration research that continuously improves restoration practices. These include a survey of bird species in and around tomato fields, impacts of restoration on riparian and grassland bird species, the relationship between soil and restoration, as well as remote sensing to track forage and weed dynamics.