Watch Otters Frolicing, at the UC Davis Putah Creek Riparian Reserve

Putah Creek Riparian Reserve. In front some berry bushes, the muddy creekThe UC Davis Putah Creek Riparian Reserve is a gem amidst agricultural land south-west of Davis. The 640-acre natural riparian, meaning wetlands adjacent to rivers and streams, and grassland ecosystem is a model in wildlife protection and restoration. Right now you’ll be enjoying the wildflowers during your walk along the river. But a surprising movement in the river – a family of river otters playing. Because there are many species of wildlife you should leash your dog.

A river otter on the bank of the creekIn 2000 a lawsuit mandated year-round flow of the creek and was an invitation for wildlife. In fact, this scenic pass by the water is a green oasis that now hosts woodpeckers, kingfishers, and other birds. A paper on ecological restoration found that during the year 1999 and 2012 a significant increase in “the abundance of 27 breeding bird species as well as increases in the size and diversity of the entire breeding bird community”. 

Grassland with the Putah Creek in the backgroundThis is a reserve owned by the UC Davis and you can see student volunteers and interns removing invasive species and helping out with repairs. Nonetheless, it is open to the public for swimming, boating, fishing and hiking. They seem to have had trouble in the past with people vandalizing benches, and destroying experimentsThis was especially true in 2020 when people sought nature as an escape from the shelter-in-place policy. Please be mindful of this model for riparian restoration.

There are four parking lots with gravel roads for the Putah Creek Riparian Reserve. The parking lots, due to recent rain, might be a bit bumpy. We entered Pedric Rd, which had space for maybe 10 cars. Please note that the south side of the creek is private property. 

2 thoughts on “Watch Otters Frolicing, at the UC Davis Putah Creek Riparian Reserve

  • March 9, 2024 at 5:17 am

    What a great find! 😀

    • March 15, 2024 at 1:22 pm

      Yes, it was so cute to see the otters swim around!

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