Campus: CSU Chico -- October 10, 2001
Large Parcel Added to Big Chico Creek Ecological Preserve
The Big Chico Creek Ecological Preserve will be increased
by 1,226 acres thanks to the continuing partnership of regional, state
and local organizations.
The Research Foundation of California State University, Chico, which operates
the preserve, purchased the new acreage Sept. 27 from The River Conservancy,
a program of River Network, an Oregon-based conservation group. The River
Network had acquired the property from former owner Jack Henning with
the intent to add it to the ecological preserve.
The acquisition brings the size of the preserve to 3,950 acres. The preserve,
a rich riparian and upland habitat for fish and wildlife, is located approximately
10 miles northeast of Chico near Bidwell Park.
The cost of the new acreage was $3.46 million. A number of entities contributed
to the funding for the purchase, including $1.73 million from the California
Wildlife Conservation Board, a division of the California Department of
Fish & Game; $630,000 from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation
of Los Altos, Calif.; $300,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Federation;
and $100,000 from the California Deer Association. Henning and The River
Network also made substantial contributions to ensure that the acreage
was added to the preserve.
"The preserve is going to be one of the most outstanding riparian
conservation areas in California, and a tremendous resource for fish,
wildlife and the community," said Phillip Wallin, director of the
River Conservancy program.
"There will be wonderful educational and research opportunities at
the preserve, thanks to the contributions of many interested and committed
parties," said Ken Derucher, dean of CSU, Chico's College of Engineering,
Computer Science and Technology, who oversaw fund raising for the property
acquisition. "Faculty, students and community members will reap the
benefits of this 'living laboratory.'"
The original preserve property was acquired from former owners Dan Drake
and Darwin and Ed Simmons in August 2000. The preserve was dedicated in
October of last year.
The preserve is home to more than 140 identified species, such as black-tailed
deer and mountain lion. It will also provide protected habitat for Chinook
salmon and steelhead trout, listed as "threatened" under the
Endangered Species Act.
Usage of the preserve will be discussed by a technical advisory committee
and citizen's advisory committee, which will recommend action to the Research
Foundation. With its gift the Wildlife Conservation Board required that
there be limited fishing and hunting in the preserve. For the coming year,
no hunting will occur on the former Henning property but will be permitted
on the former Simmons Ranch. Hunting and fishing that does occur during
the year will be monitored, and changes will be made at the end of the
first year if necessary.