In 2017, Yolo County RCD received funding through the California Natural Resource Agency’s River Parkways Grant Program to enhance the habitat value and aesthetics of Capay Open Space Park. As off-channel gravel mining operations have been completed along Cache Creek, land has been deeded to Yolo County creating the Cache Creek Parkway which includes the land that comprises Capay Open Space Park. Due to in-channel mining and impacts from agriculture, the natural riparian corridor along this section of creek has been greatly reduced, the floodplain has been lowered, and noxious weeds have invaded the creek banks. The park contains four major habitat types: bottomland floodplain, riparian woodland, riparian scrub, and oak savanna grassland. Situated in a transitional ecotone between the outer Coastal Range and the Sacramento Valley, Capay Open Space Park has the potential to support high biodiversity of wildlife and can serve as a wildlife corridor between valley and foothill habitats.
Yolo County RCD led the implementation of 1,000 linear and five acres of oak savanna, and 2.9 acres of native grassland. This project will help to restore the riparian diversity and function of this reach of Cache Creek and will serve as a model for the Cache Creek Parkway. By removing non-native invasive weeds and replacing them with native trees, shrubs, grasses and forbs, the project will protect against re-invasion, help prevent streambank erosion, support pollinator insects, provide improved wildlife habitat, and create a pleasant creekside recreation area. This project will build upon previously completed work done by Yolo County Parks to and supports ongoing work to realize the Cache Creek Parkway.
Throughout the park there are interpretive panels that were designed with local community input through workshops led by the Cache Creek Conservancy. These informative panels, installed by the Yolo County RCD, build upon existing infrastructure of the park and contain information on wildlife, native plants, and relevant history of the local tribal communities.
Funding for this project was provided by California Natural Resource Agency’s River Parkways Grant Program and was completed in partnership with Cache Creek Conservancy.