Yolo Bypass Symposium part 2: Fish, fowl, and the mercury conundrum

Wetland-birds-sliderboxRestoration efforts have succeeded in restoring waterfowl populations in the Yolo Bypass; can the same happen now for fish? Plus the latest research on methylmercury and wetlands restoration.

When the floodwaters flow into the Yolo Bypass in the late winter and early spring in some years, dramatic changes occur. Salmon, splittail, and other native fish species come onto the floodplain to feed on invertebrates. Vast numbers of waterfowl arrive almost instantly to feed on the fish, invertebrates, and agricultural residue. When the Yolo Bypass is fully inundated, the wetted area of the Delta is approximately doubled.

 

Flooded Yolo Bypass by Patrick Huber

Flooded Yolo Bypass by Patrick Huber

In the bypass, wetland managers and conservationists in the Yolo Bypass work to ensure that habitat is available, even when the floodwaters don’t come. About one-third of the Yolo Bypass is a mosaic of managed wetlands, ponds, and other associated habitats that support a wide variety of aquatic, avian and terrestrial wildlife.

Over 280 terrestrial species are known to use the habitats in the bypass, many of them special status species, including fairy shrimp, the giant garter snake, the northwestern pond turtle, snow plover, great blue heron, and the bald eagle. … “

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