County identifies groundbreaking vision for Tule Canal, Yolo Bypass

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By Frank Schneegas Special to the Express On June 24, Yolo County released a report on a recent design charrette for the Tule Canal in the Yolo Bypass. The two-day virtual workshop included 71 participants from a wide swath of stakeholders—farmers, policy makers, landowners, hunters, conservation scientists, educators, engineers, and ecologists. Led by consultants Robert Suarez and Teal Brown Zimring, with generous funding from the State Water Contractors and Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, the executive summary and full report are now available on Yolo County’s Delta e-library. “Charrette is a term used in landscape design and architecture. It’s a fancy way of saying a design workshop,” explained Elisa Sabatini, Yolo County’s Natural Resources Manager. “It was fascinating to be part of a process that involved so many people, who all came together around a vision for the Tule Canal in two days.” The completed report was the final effort in a two-year update of the Yolo Bypass Drainage and Water Infrastructure Improvement Study Update published in December 2020. The County’s aim through the Tule Canal Charrette in January 2021 was to bring diverse stakeholders together to come closer to a shared vision for this complex environment. The Tule Canal stretches the length of the 40-mile Bypass serving as water supply, flood protection, drainage, and habitat. The outcomes included in the report provide support for three actions: a multi-functional Tule Canal, a Yolo Bypass strategic plan, and a Yolo Bypass governing entity. A vision was synthesized from the contributions of the 10 workgroups: We envision a transformed Tule Canal as an integrated corridor, which engages people, sustains farmers, protects property, and provides diverse wildlife habitat. The next steps of developing a strategic plan for a multi-functional Tule Canal and creating a governing entity for the Bypass will be pursued by Yolo County Natural Resources Manager, Elisa Sabatini.

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