Yolo Bypass Symposium, part 1: A flood of plans and possibilities
Symposium focuses on how to integrate agriculture, wildlife, and public access on the managed floodplain
From Maven’s Notebook:
In between Sacramento and Davis lies the Yolo Bypass, a narrow strip of land 40 miles long and 3 miles wide. Capable of carrying four times the flow of the Sacramento River, the bypass is part of a larger flood control system that performs the critical function of protecting the city of Sacramento from catastrophic flooding and as such, the bypass has been integral in protecting the city from flooding at least seven or eight times.
The Yolo Basin is part of the Pacific Flyway, a migration route traveled by millions of waterfowl annually. The basin had historically supported many species, but this changed after the Army Corps built the Sacramento Flood Control Project in the early 20th century. The construction of levees and weirs transformed the naturally draining basin into a managed floodplain.
While the flood control system and Shasta Dam served to reduce flooding and protect downstream communities such as Sacramento, the taming of the river system eventually took its toll on wildlife. Populations of native species plummeted, and within just a few decades, researchers were calling attention to the loss of wetland and riparian habitats and voicing their concerns for the impacts to the millions of migratory birds dependent on Pacific Flyway.