Printer Friendly

Where the cosumnes still runs wild.

Where the Cosumnes still runs wild

On the eastern edge of the Sacramento-- San Joaquin Delta, 25 miles north of Stockton, a 3-mile stretch of the Cosumnes River proves a wild anomaly in an otherwise domesticated landscape. For miles around, fields have been cleared and laser-leveled to get optimum crop yields. But here wild grapes and blackberries run riot, and cottonwoods and valley oaks spread overhead and block the sky.

A hundred years ago, such a riverbank tangle of trees and vines was a common sight in California. But today, only a 10th of 1 percent of the state's original riparian forests remains. For that reason, The Nature Conservancy set aside this land as part of its $20 million Wild California program, intended to preserve threatened plant and animal communities. Dedicated last May, the 935-acre Cosumnes River Preserve is now open to the public, with a short nature trail and guided hikes.

This forest's luxuriance is water-born. The largest undammed river in the Central Valley, the Cosumnes still floods in winter and spring, depositing its soil-enriching silt. (Flood waters also drown gophers that otherwise might pose a threat to young oak trees.) Buttonbush grows at the river's edge. Soil 6 inches to 3 feet above the water table supports willows and cottonwoods; that from 4 to 6 feet above the water table is prime valley oak terrain.

The preserve also has fresh-water marshes. From late September into the winter, they host a concentration of sand-hill cranes, numbers of Canada and Ross's geese, and many species of ducks.

For now, much of the preserve--including the most impressive oak groves--can be seen only on the guided tours. The first tour is on Saturday, October 10, at 10 A.M.; others will be scheduled for later in the fall. For reservations, call (916) 686-6982. Also scheduled for late October is an acorn-gathering session, the first step in a reforestation program to establish new stands of valley oaks.

You can see one portion of the preserve any time, without taking a guided tour, by hiking on the 1/4-mile Willow Slough Trail, which leads past thick lines of Goodding willows to a small pond. (In the future, this trail may be extended into the preserve's main tract.) To reach the trail from Interstate 5, exit east on Twin Cities Road; in 1 mile, turn right (south) on Franklin Boulevard and go 1 1/4 miles. The trail starts on the east side of the road.

Photo: Luxuriant canopy of valley oak limbs festooned with grapevines graces Cosumnes Preserve. Above, bulbous oak galls grow on trees in irritated reaction to wasp larvae
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Cosumnes River Preserve
Publication:Sunset
Date:Oct 1, 1987
Words:437
Previous Article:Where the gold rush began ... an autumn drive; start in Auburn or Placerville for a leisurely 50-mile loop through the Georgetown Divide.
Next Article:Row, row, row your scull ... or rowboat or canoe; here's where to go to start, to rent.
Topics:


Related Articles
GM Delivers Electric Truck To The Nature Conservancy's Cosumnes Preserve.
Horizon Organic Dairy Teams Up With The Nature Conservancy on California Land Purchase.
Slough and easy along the Cosumnes.
Sandhill Cranes Return to Wintering Sites In San Joaquin and Sacramento Counties; The Nature Conservancy Releases Studies Demonstrating Importance of...
Calif. students may pay more to commute.
Ashford University and Cosumnes River College Form Articulation Agreement.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters