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Tour Guide - Field Trip for WFC 10 DAVIS NORTH AREA POND...

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Field Trip for WFC 10 DAVIS NORTH AREA POND Peter Moyle, October 2005 Some modifications 2007 Introduction 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. The tour
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1. Walk east down the paved pathway towards the wildlife area. On your right is a small pond that is maintained at a constant level all year around, with an island towards the west end. This pond is surrounded by a ring of yellow iris plants (an invasive species that is a pest in some areas) and then lawn, green even on hot dry summer days. Note signs that say that contact with the water is likely unsafe and do not feed the
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