Important habitats in and around Davis include riparian, freshwater wetlands, vernal pools, valley oak woodlands, grasslands, and streams. Even agricultural croplands and irrigation ditches provide valuable habitat. This diversity of habitats is important for migratory birds, fisheries, and rare species. Migratory birds stopover in Davis on their annual migrations along the Pacific Flyway as they move from as far as Canada and South America. Anadromous fish are once again using Putah Creek on their travels between the Pacific Ocean and valley or foothill spawning locations. For more information about the unique habitats in Yolo County and around California, check out the California Native Plant Society’s Manual of California Vegetation or the Yolo Habitat Conservancy’s examination of existing ecological conditions in Yolo County, which shows the distribution of land cover and vegetation types throughout the county.
Plants and Animals Around Davis
Despite extensive conversion of land over the last 200 years, the area around Davis still provides habitat for many rare plant and animal species. Yolo County supports a wide array of species, from specialized plants and animals that only occur in the alkali pools and vernal pools of the Central Valley floor to rare butterflies that occur on the ridges of the Coast Range in the northwestern portion of the county.
Plants. There are more than 866 native plants listed in the Calflora database for Yolo County, including the pink sand verbena, the common yarrow, and manzanita. Yolo County is also home to more than 34 rare native plant species. Some of these rare plants might be growing in your backyard!
Animals. Some of the animals that you might encounter in Yolo County’s open spaces include the Swainson’s hawk, the Northwestern pond turtle, the California tiger salamander, several species of bats, the giant garter snake, many sensitive vernal pool invertebrates, the valley elderberry longhorn beetle, and several other sensitive bird species, such as the burrowing owl, the bank swallow, and the tricolored blackbird. Efforts to protect habitats for these species can be found in the Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Community Conservation Plan by the Yolo Habitat Conservancy.
Providing Healthy Habitats at Home