Winters’ residents don’t just live in houses. In fact, many dwell in nests, holes and in the water along the town’s green river. That’s why the Putah Creek Council (PCC) and its volunteers are doing everything in their power to help these native neighbors thrive.
Since the 1980’s, the PCC has been on a mission to protect, preserve and keep life flowing through Putah Creek. The nonprofit makes strides in this mission through advocacy, education and community-based stewardship.
“Stewardship’s a broad term referring to responsible land use and management for Putah Creek. We’re really working to engage the community in conservation and environmental protection,” said PCC Education Program Manager Alli Permann. “We host community events at various restoration sites along Putah Creek, working extensively in the Winters Nature Park. We also do ongoing events in coordination with the City of Davis Open Space at the Putah Creek South Fork Preserve as well as events throughout the watershed, so not just along the creek but on private property as well.”
According to Permann, if one wants to — literally — get their hands dirty, volunteer work consists of invasive plant removal, tending to trees, laying mulch and other tasks of that nature. Although preservation progress was mired by the pandemic, the stewardship program is back on track and chugging along.
“The program really took shape within the last ten years with a dedicated staff member looking for funding for our events, coordinating with partners and reshuffling since covid. But now we’re firing on all cylinders,” said Permann. “We have a lot of volunteers and are looking to engage all types of people as we move forward. A big portion of supporters go back to the very beginning in the 80’s, but our focus now is expanding our volunteer base, getting more families out and young people because a lot of our volunteers are from Woodland and Davis.”
With as much pride as residents take in the town, volunteering would coincide with that pride. Putah Creek is more than just a town landmark — and restaurant namesake — it teems with life, biodiversity and opportunities for the community to give back.
“The fire seasons being so severe is a reflection of climate change, and we’re seeing in heavier and crazier fire seasons as part of our new headquarters property was burned by the LNU fire,” said Permann. “There’s a decrease in biodiversity all over the world and California is a hotspot for biodiversity. With plenty of science and data on the worsening climate issues, we can see restoration as a helpful act where you can put trees in the ground and tend to the environment. These small projects are a light in the darkness as cliché as that sounds.”
Much of the PCC’s success Permann attributes to the partnership with the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and their funding through the Yolo Creek and Community Partnership. Other partners Permann lauds in conservation crime are Yolo RCD, the Center for Land-Based Learning and Point Blue Conservation Science. Additional funding also comes from Lake Solano Parks in coordination with Solano RCD.
To stay up-to-date or join in the preservation efforts, one can visit putahcreekcouncil.org or their social accounts by searching @putahcreekcouncil.