DAVIS NORTH AREA POND
Peter Moyle, October 2005
Some modifications 2007
The North Area Pond is a small wildlife area located in a residential section of Davis, one of several such
areas within Davis (another is West Davis Pond). The wildlife area has its origins as a drainage pond. Davis
is flat with little natural drainage, the result of it once being swamp and grassland. Thus when the winter
rains come, the water accumulates unless encouraged to run off down ditches and drains. The water flowing
down ditches still has to go some place where it will not flood houses or farms. The solution is drainage
ponds, where the water can accumulate and actually percolate into the ground water (from which it may be
pumped out again, purified, and used as drinking water). Historically the drainage ponds were rectangular
and lined with dirt, with the sides and bottoms kept as free of vegetation as possible, functional but ugly.
They were designed to fill and drain as quickly as possible and be dry most of the year. North Area Pond
was built in 1967 and originally had this appearance.
In 1989, North Area Pond was turned in to a wildlife area by letting vegetation grow, sculpting the contours
to create diverse habitat, and maintaining some water in it all year around. This pond and similar areas are
now regarded as amenities to the communities in which they are located because they attract a diverse array
of birds and other wildlife. They also provide complex relief from landscaped parks which are the usual
open space in towns. The purpose of this trip is to observe the North Area Pond and its wildlife and to
evaluate the role of such urban habitats in protecting wildlife.
Visiting North Davis Pond
North Davis Pond is located on the eastern edge of Northstar Park, at the intersection of F street and
Anderson Road. To get there by bicycle from the UCD campus, start at the intersection of Anderson/La Rue
and Russell Blvd. Follow Anderson Road for about 1.8 miles, as it curves around. Just before you hit F
street, there will be a public parking lot on the right, which is next to the Tandem Properties Building. Go
through the parking lot and park your bicycle on the nearest rack in Northstar Park. There are bathrooms
located in the building on your left as you enter the park. You can also reach the area by biking through
more scenic routes, such as the Greenbelt, but you will need a map to do so.
The best time to go, to see wildlife, is early in the morning, but there is much to see at any time of the day.
This guide is written for the Fall, when pond levels are likely to be low and large sections are dry. A pair of
binoculars and a book showing common birds are recommended.