Bufferlands Research

Research Opportunities


Throughout the years, Bufferlands staff has conducted a number of research projects. The results of this research have been used to guide our habitat management, to develop corrective measures for environmental problems or to overcome habitat restoration obstacles. This applied research has helped guide our management strategies in areas ranging from beaver problems within our riparian forests to perennial grassland establishment within the Upper Beach Lake floodplain.

In addition, the Bufferlands welcomes opportunities to partner with local universities and agencies and allow use of the area to researchers. If you are interested in research opportunities, please contact the Bufferlands Manager to discuss your research proposal.

General Information
This research effort, by yielding key data on the life history of our only native turtle species, has led to a better understanding of how our turtle competes with introduced species.

Western Pond Turtle Research

Collaboration improves understanding of Bufferlands' only native turtle species

The western pond turtle (Emys marmorata) is a native species found on the Bufferlands and throughout the Sacramento Valley. In recent years, other turtle species have been observed using the Bufferlands wetland habitats. These introduced species include the red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) and painted turtle (Chrysemys picta). Both of these species are sold as pets and are readily available at local pet shops. There has been much speculation that these turtles may be out-competing our native turtles for resources.

General Information

Western Burrowing Owl

A case study in species protection

Our Bufferlands provide excellent habitat for one of the Central Valley’s most charming birds, the burrowing owl. Since 1991, Regional San’s natural resources experts have carefully monitored burrowing owl habitat on District lands while pioneering innovative techniques for increasing owl populations. Through hands-on research, Bufferlands staff have successfully developed a way to build artificial nesting mounds for the threatened birds.

Photo Gallery

Burrowing Owl Research

Banding the baby Burrowing Owls

On Saturday, July 27, wildlife biologists from the Bufferlands staff captured five burrowing owls along Sims Rd. This work is part of an ongoing project to place leg bands on every owl in our population. The owls were captured using various traps created for this event. The traps and trapping methods were all crafted with an emphasis on safety for the burrowing owls. Two adult owls and three chicks were trapped and safely released back into their burrows.


Help Burrowing Owls

Build an artificial nesting structure - it's easy!

If you’re a landowner in the Sacramento County area, why not build your own nesting site for this charming little owl?

Selecting the Right Site

Choose a site for your artificial nest mound using the following criteria and your own common sense:

General Information

Riparian Forest Research

Study to determine effectiveness of recent restoration efforts

The historic loss of riparian forest in central California is dramatic, and manipulation of river flows has left few areas open to natural regeneration. However, the last 20 years have seen widespread attempts to replace riparian corridors. Motivation for such restoration varies, from hopes for greater wildlife habitat to impetus for naturally-occurring flood control and water filtration. Riparian areas have been shown to contribute to such “ecosystem services.”

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