The Current Magazine Spring 2015 - Page 23

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Farm Fields Prove Vitally Useful

Working with landowner Knaggs Ranch and the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences and the California Department of Water Resources the experiment has shown that off-season agricultural fields can provide critical floodplain habitat for endangered fish. These “surrogate wetlands” mimic the floodplain rearing habitat used by young salmon, which has been largely eliminated by the development of the Central Valley for farms and houses. The purpose of the project is to test the hypothesis that, through better planning and engineering, farm fields that produce agricultural crops in summer can also produce food and habitat for fish and wildlife during winter when crops are not grown.