This IBA includes particularly rich lowland riparian woodland along the lower Feather River between Yuba City/Marysville and Sacramento. Specifically, it includes the area from Abbott Lake south to the Highway 99 bridge at Nicolaus. Private land dominates here, though a portion has been nominated as Oso Plumas National Natural Landmark (National Park Service) for being an exceptional example of Great Valley Riparian Forest (R. Holland, in litt.). This IBA, along with the Sacramento River Upper IBA, represent some of the finest examples of lowland riparian woodland remaining in the entire Sacramento Valley (BD), of which a meager 2% remain. Several areas of a few hundred acres in extent are managed by the state as units of Feather River Wildlife Area, and a -mile-wide strip totaling 400 acres is protected as the Bobelaine Audubon Sanctuary (J. Persson, in litt.). Point Reyes Bird Observatory has monitored riparian breeding birds here since the mid-1990s.

Ornithological Summary

The lower Feather supports one of a handful of breeding populations of Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo in the state, a taxon that has been reduced to fewer than 50 pairs in California (Thelander and Crabtree 1994). Bank Swallow, also widely-extirpated in the Sacramento Valley, is also known to breed within the IBA (TM), along with several other sensitive riparian species such as Swainson's Hawk and Yellow-breasted Chat. The restoration potential within the IBA is arguably more impressive than the actual resources present today.

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Conservation Issues

Large areas in the area remain in private hands, and even on certain public holdings, over-grazing by cattle gravely threatens the riparian bird community both by its direct damage to vegetation and by encouraging the proliferation of cowbirds and exotic vegetation. Fires, including those set by levee district personnel to remove vegetation and to discourage ground squirrel tunneling, periodically burn out of control and into the riparian vegetation, devastating bird habitat for several years. This occurred in 1985 (R. Holland, in litt.), 1992 (J. Persson, in litt.), and 1998 (B. Clark, via email). However, TNC (1995) identified this area as having high restoration potential, owing largely to the presence of set back levees (TNC 1995).

Ownership

Private land dominates here, though a portion has been nominated as ?Oso Plumas National Natural Landmark? (National Park Service) for being an exceptional example of Great Valley Riparian Forest (R. Holland, in litt.). Several areas of a few hundred acres in extent are managed by the state as units of Feather River Wildlife Area, and a ?-mile-wide strip totaling 400 acres is protected as the Bobelaine Audubon Sanctuary (J. Persson, in litt.).

Habitat

This IBA includes particularly rich lowland riparian woodland along the lower Feather River between Yuba City/Marysville and Sacramento. Specifically, it includes the area from Abbott Lake south to the Highway 99 bridge at Nicolaus. Private land dominates here, though a portion has been nominated as ?Oso Plumas National Natural Landmark? (National Park Service) for being an exceptional example of Great Valley Riparian Forest (R. Holland, in litt.). This IBA, along with the Sacramento River ? Upper IBA, represent some of the finest examples of lowland riparian woodland remaining in the entire Sacramento Valley.

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