Sundance-Lakeview Farms Wetlands Restoration Project
Placer County has identified the Coon Creek watershed as a natural resource of local significance. Since 2000, the Placer Legacy Program has teamed with our conservation partners to pursue a conservation strategy aimed at preserving the ecological function of the Coon Creek watershed. Successes, from east to west, include:
- Taylor Ranch Preserve
- Hidden Falls Regional Park
- Blue Oak Ranch conservation easement
- Conservation/restoration activities associated with the Teichert aggregate mine
- National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) easements on Coon Creek on the subject Sundance Properties site
- Flood conservation easement on a 137-acre Sundance Properties to the west of the restoration site
Altogether, over five miles of Coon Creek are protected today and an additional three miles will be protected with the Teichert project.
The genesis of the Sundance Properties Wetlands Restoration Project started with an acknowledgement that the County needed to spend mitigation funds held within the Wetland Trust Fund. The Wetland Trust Fund revenues were paid by public/private sector development projects with small impacts on wetland and riparian habitat. The expenditure of these funds is intended to replace wetland functions lost at a project site.
Restoration Resources, a habitat planning and restoration firm, developed a plan that included:
- Enlarging the riparian corridor along Coon Creek into adjacent areas formerly used as agricultural land
- Improvement to existing riparian and valley oak woodlands
- Construction of seasonal and perennial wetlands
- Re-contouring certain areas to improve natural drainage patterns
- Improving on-site infrastructure to provide year-round water to perennial wetlands
Enhancing Existing Wildlife Habitat
The Sundance Properties project enhances existing wildlife habitat on its approximately 440-acre property in western Placer County. Work was limited to a 60-acre parcel north of Coon Creek and adjacent to Dowd Road and its 380-acre hunting preserve which is under a conservation easement held by the NRCS. The scope of work encompasses 7.04 acres of riparian area restoration within a setback levee as well as 2,527 linear feet of stream restoration. Work included:
- Widening of the riparian habitat along the stream channel.
- In order to create a habitat corridor, installation of native sedges, rushes, grasses, and trees. Three locations along the creek received biotechnical bank stabilization.
- The floodplain of Coon Creek was constrained by an access road which bisects the site. The road is constructed a few feet above the natural grade, forming a small dike. This road was moved 200 feet north to further expand the floodplain.
The project also involved construction of a 0.6 acre duck habitat pond in an upland terrace in a secondary seasonal secondary outflow setback from Coon Creek channel, a 2.6 acre wetlands complex in low lying fields outside the levee, riparian bank stabilization with associated riparian habitat planting, and construction of approximately 1,800 linear feet of new levee road to create additional floodplain expansion using fill created from the wetlands excavation. The creation of overflow weirs at five locations in the existing levee along the north side of Coon Creek will encourage flooding to flow northward into these expanded areas of containment within the new levee road.
In addition, the habitat restoration design includes enhancement of wetlands, riparian habitats, and oak woodlands, open space for Swainson’s hawk use, and the introduction wood duck breeding and nesting habitat as an additional enhancement for migratory birds. Created habitat will also provide cover for pheasants. The project significantly enhances the overall environment for wildlife preservation and benefit the recreational hunting program already in place.
In November 2002, the Placer County Planning Department applied for and received a $50,000 grant through the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s North American Wetlands Conservation Act Small Grants Program to help fund the project.
- $258,000 - Placer County Wetland Trust fund
- $72,000 - California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CALSPA) Rock Creek settlement
- $50,000 - Wetlands Conservation Act grant
Work started in summer 2008 and was completed in November 2008.