On the agenda of the last city council meeting was an item to support the change in the plan for the Phase 3 Putah Creek project. The change is a last-minute whimsical proposal by UC Davis biologist Melanie Truan to create a stagnant back channel, reportedly as a concession to those of us who enjoy seeing beaver and otter in their natural habitat.
Ms. Truan should know that beaver, otter and desirable fish species do not favor stagnant water, but that algae and mosquitoes do.
Though the change will eliminate a planned section of creekside trail, the council’s response to public comment was to focus on the value of public access and to question whether sealing the creek bed and flood plain by compacting soil will indeed inhibit groundwater recharge.
It is unfortunate that knowledgeable, caring Winters citizens and others that are not funded under the project have no place at the table. The result is that we are replacing a valuable asset with a potential set of problems.
Incidentally, I was misquoted in the last Express article. My point was that increased public access will disturb spawning salmon, and that the plan proposed by the Friends of Putah Creek would provide protected spawning areas as well as improved habitat for other creatures. Good wildlife restoration projects provide a balance between protecting wildlife, and access so the public can observe it.
Friends of Putah Creek