New 618-acre Bear River Preserve

Restored Floodplain and Riparian Habitat Along the Bear River Permanently Preserved in Yuba and Sutter Counties!

On October 26, 2022, Sacramento Valley Conservancy (SVC) officially recorded its newest preserve in Yuba and Sutter County, permanently protecting approximately 618 acres of high-quality riparian habitat, valley oak woodland habitat, shaded riverine aquatic habitat, open grassland habitat, and emergent wetland habitat.

The finalizing of this project marks the end of an 8-year planning and due diligence period between Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority (TRLIA) and SVC, which grew into a monumental conservation partnership between TRLIA as the Grantor, Sutter Buttes Regional Land Trust (SBRLT) as the Easement Holder, and SVC as the Preserve Manager.

The Preserve protects floodplain habitat that provides for nesting, foraging, and cover for numerous wildlife species, including migratory and resident songbirds, Swainson’s hawk and other raptors, plus habitat for the Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle, and cover for numerous fish species during periods of high flows.

The project area is adjacent to other State and private conservation and recreational areas located along the Feather River, currently providing over 3,000 acres of wildlife habitat. Together these protected areas form a nearly contiguous block of important remnant or restored habitat that serves as food supply, cover, and migration routes for wildlife, while also enhancing the overall biological diversity to promote the recovery and overall stability of special-status species and other native species.

“The Bear River Preserve is a culmination of years of dedication and involvement of several non-profit organizations, and local and state agencies. We’re excited to be taking over the management of the restored area after the successful work of River Partners and we’re looking forward to continuing a new partnership with SBRLT” said Kelly Hopkins, Sacramento Valley Conservancy’s Executive Director.

The project was part of the required mitigation for the nearly 2-mile-long Bear River Setback Levee project, which joins and reclaims over 600 acres of floodplain and habitat areas. The levee setback provided significant opportunities to enhance the ecological values of the project area through the restoration of native habitats in the levee setback area, complemented by native habitat restoration in the adjacent existing floodway area.

SVC recognizes that protecting natural resources, farmland, and ranchland is critical to increasing flood resiliency for the region, and that open space is vital for the well-being of current and future generations. SVC acquires land and conservation easements by purchase or donation. For more information, please contact Kelly Hopkins.

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