Owned and managed by Reclamation District 900 (RD 900), the Bridgeway Island Wetland is a 20 acre wetland located northwest of the intersection of Southport Parkway and Oakland Bay. The wetland has year round water and was built to enhance water quality and provide habitat for wildlife, particularly birds. Because it receives water from the shipping channel and the shipping channel is connected to the Sacramento River, the wetland is home to a variety of fish. These fish and the wide variety of water depths within the wetland provide excellent habitat for birds. To date, I have identified over 90 species of birds using the wetland. Most are migratory birds, like the long-billed dowitcher and least sandpiper, that show up for a couple weeks in the fall on their migration from their breeding grounds in Alaska and Northern Canada to their wintering grounds in Central and South America and then show up again for a couple of weeks in the spring on their way back to their breeding grounds, or, like the cinnamon teal and tree swallow, that spend the winter months in Mexico and Central America and, in the spring, return to our area to breed. The wetland is also home to at least two species of frogs and to a pair of river otters that have raised young in the wetland for at least two years.
As development in our area has increased, the threats to the wetland have also increased. Trash littering the banks and islands, and dogs off leash, and in the water, are common place. At times, motorcycles and four wheelers are seen in the shallow waters. Reclamation Districts were not set up to manage wetlands, but for all things “necessary and convenient to reclaim land (Water Code 50000 et seq.)”. With the permission of RD 900, I began volunteering to pick up trash and develop signs to post to help protect the wetland. I have also offered my expertise to help manage the wetland for the benefit of wildlife.
Participate in enhancing and protecting the wetland:
- Pick up trash
- Help post signs informing people of the wetland
Use the Wetland as an outdoor classroom:
- Learn about a wetlands
- The plants and animals that inhabit wetlands
- Learn environmental stewardship
The potential exists to participate in things like, local breeding shorebird counts, national bird surveys, like the Christmas bird count, place nesting boxes up for swallows, wood ducks, owls, or bats, and work with nonprofit organizations like, Point Reyes Bird Observatory or the California Waterfowl Association, to trap breeding birds and band or radio them for scientific study.
Ultimately, an Adopt-A-Wetland program has the potential to allow students an excellent opportunity to see and learn first-hand the wonders of nature, environmental stewardship, and bring larger community involvement and protection to a resources that is invaluable to West Sacramento.