Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Habitat and Drainage Improvements

The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (YBWA) supports agricultural and wildlife habitat management objectives as well as public use. Water delivery and drainage are vital to provide optimal conditions for all objectives.

The existing YBWA irrigation system consisted of several “dual use” canals that served both water supply and drainage purposes, which created limitations for management objectives. Additionally, several key elements of the system were undersized for their purpose. cbec worked with YBWA managers to identify improvements suitable to the multi-objective nature of the property. The water distribution network was optimized so that agriculture and habitat management schedules could be met, productivity and habitat value will be enhanced, public access to the site will be improved, and the property will be more resilient to anticipated inundation scenarios. Five sub‐projects were identified which comprise the overall improvement plan. As of August 2020, three have been implemented, with the remaining to be completed next year (funding permitting). Individual sub-project details are below.

  • Drainage improvements at “Rice Corner” – A new bridge was installed to improve conveyance and drainage, reduce flooding, improve site access, and improve irrigation efficiency and capacity. Diversion structures were upgraded and an irrigation ditch was regraded to improve water distribution and drainage functionality. Completed in August 2020.
  • Drainage improvements at “the Y” – Two undersized culverts were replaced with a new bridge to improve water management capability, reduce flooding, and improve site access. The existing pump station was relocated to improve water distribution efficiency and reliability. Completed in August 2020. See video for a site breakdown from project manager Sam Diaz.
  • Parker Pond improvements – A new pump station was installed along with an enlarged sump for irrigating adjacent managed wetlands, allowing managers to effectively enhance their value. Completed in August 2020.
  • Inundation compatibility improvements – Road improvements on the east side of the property to improve access to infrastructure and reduce inundation from anticipated increased flows in Tule Canal. A new irrigation pump will be installed to improve field drainage to help managers meet management goals for agriculture and habitat. Anticipated in 2022 (funding permitting).
  • Improvements to Green’s Lake – New diversion structures will be installed and vegetation will be managed to improve irrigation efficiency, enhance storage, improve drainage and overall add flexibility to the water management system. Road improvements on the east side of the Green’s Lake will improve access to infrastructure and reduce inundation from anticipated increased flows in Tule Canal. Anticipated in 2022 (funding permitting).