In 1984, The Nature Conservancy bought 85 acres of land of old-growth riparian woods roughly 20 miles south of Sacramento, creating the Cosumnes River Preserve. While building an association of what is presently a consortium consisting of private and public entities, they procured lands and preservation easements that now protect 46,000 acres of land, enveloping freshwater wetlands, blue and valley oak woodlands, vernal pool prairies and important farmlands.
At an early stage, The Nature Conservancy recognized the significance of the Cosumnes as one of the final free-flowing waterways west of the Sierra Nevada. Without large-scale dam control, the waterway overtops its banks every year, feeding the riparian habitat.
Fish, for example, the debilitated Chinook salmon, forage for nourishment in this floodplain and find cover from predators. These floodplains are critical in the life cycle of indigenous fish, as fingerlings develop rapidly in these protected backwater zones and accordingly have an expanded possibility of survival when they come back to the river channel.
Natural flooding additionally recharges the aquifer that delivers water to ranchers and close-by municipalities.
The Central Valley once encompassed one of the biggest breadths of wetland habitats and streamside forests in North America. Featuring cottonwoods, willows, cinder, and other flood resistant trees, great woodlands of valley oaks studded its fertile floodplains. The rich riverbottom soil that nurtured the oaks was coveted by private agriculturists who cleared a large portion of the land. Today, just little remainders of these superb oak forests can now be found in the great Central Valley. Along the lower Cosumnes, small yet significant stands of valley oaks have survived. These woodlands cover somewhere in the range of 1,500 acres of land, and along with the rest of the riverside timberlands and wetlands, they offer habitiat to the wildlife that still flourish here.
The Cosumnes River Preserve is a venture planning to save 46,000 acres of land of this historic land in its natural element. They seek to enhance and preserve the natural surroundings within the Cosumnes River Preserve area, including riparian backwoods, wetland, vernal pool field, oak forest, riverine, marsh, and farm habitat, with a specific end goal to safeguard biodiversity and benefit declining, threatened, and endangered wildlife and plant species. They attempt to achieve this utilizing a cooperative approach to management by creating both short-and long term integrated preservation and management projects, and in addition supporting policies compatible with their goals.