Wastewater treatment plants need to be good neighbors to the local community. That’s why in the 1970s, we decided to purchase the property surrounding the treatment plant to develop a buffer between treatment plant operations and its nearest neighbors. This 2,650-acre expanse of open space minimizes the potential for odor and other nuisances that could impact the surrounding neighborhoods. However, the Bufferlands provides much more than a nuisance buffer.
This important nature area now provides hundreds of acres of high quality wildlife habitat, farmland and open space in a rapidly urbanizing area of California. Learn more about the incredible diversity and natural treasures of the Bufferlands by checking out the many resources we have posted here. Or better yet, join us at one of the fun events and activities our Bufferlands staff host throughout the year!
With a varied mix of upland and wetland habitats, the Bufferlands is an important wildlife area, supporting more than 230 species of birds, 25 species of native mammals and several native fish, amphibians and reptiles. The Bufferlands is also home to more than 20 species of rare plants and animals, including several threatened and endangered species such as Swainson’s hawk, vernal pool fairy shrimp and giant garter snakes.
Habitat restoration and enhancement efforts on the Bufferlands are ongoing. Through these efforts, the size of our riparian forests has more than doubled, and native perennial grasses are now an integral part of the landscape. Also, our staff continues to work with the resident farmers to better structure Bufferlands agricultural operations to benefit wildlife. For example, cattle grazing is used to enhance areas for the western burrowing owl, where vegetation would otherwise become too thick for these small raptors to hunt.
The unique nature of the Bufferlands and its relationship with the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant have gained both local and worldwide attention. The Bufferlands has been featured in print and video media as far away as Japan and has hosted visiting natural resource managers from around the globe.
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