The Willits By-pass Offsite Mitigation Project

The Willits By-pass Offsite Mitigation Project is the largest public wetlands mitigation project in the State of California. In 2015, MCRCD assumed long-term management responsibility for the 2,087-acres of wet meadow, stream corridors, and oak woodlands. MCRCD has four staff members managing and monitoring grazing impacts to listed species, ecosystem function, and overall biological diversity. Caltrans created a non-wasting endowment through the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation as a permanent source of funding for management and monitoring of mitigation lands. MCRCD was signatory to the Endowment Agreement, and signed a 10-year interim contract to provide necessary on-the-ground land management and monitoring services.

“Observations and Ruminations”

blog authored by

Marisela De Santa Anna

The Pacific Flyway

January 7, 8am This is a very foggy and cold morning. As I drove through Willits the town was quiet, but out here in the valley the air is filled with the many sounds of birds, ducks in particular. In every wet area there are ducks of many species seemingly...

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Winter Wonderland & Happy Holidays!

December 10, 2017, 10:30 A.M. It is 29 degrees in the Willits valley. Looking out I see a frozen landscape with a cold fog rising up from the small ponds left over from when it last rained. Yet the air is full of quacking, splashing, and sounds of ducks...

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Winter Beauty

Thursday, November 30th, 1:00pm Even though in the winter we do not have many flowers to look at, lichens and mosses fill that gap with their unique and fantastic forms. This week my attention was on a few plant forms that really stand out after...

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Ducks and More

November 17th,  Friday 10am. Low fog and clouds to begin with, but it cleared up quickly to a beautiful, sunny day. The moisture in the ground made the ground squishy. A flock of Canada Geese and American Wigeon flew by, the geese honking...

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Raptors, Raptors, Raptors

  Ferruginous hawk, juvenile, buteo (broad-winged, short tails)   White- tailed kite, adult,  (long pointed wings, hovers while hunting)   Coopers Hawk, juvenile accipiter (long tailed,short rounded wings)   Red tail hawk, adult(dark phase), Buteo (broad wings and...

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Two Lovely Days in November

November 6th, 10am In the Fall, the weather can be completely different from day to day. Last week was a week of contrasts, one day being sunny and warm,  with no wind, and the next day was cool and wet, with showers coming down heavy at times, and windy....

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Unveiled and Hidden

A grey November day in the north end of the valley where the wetlands are changed into their fall colors. The leaves have fallen off the Ash and Oaks revealing masses of Ramalina and other species of lichens hanging in sheets, their pale green...

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“A beautiful white arc across the sky”

“A beautiful white arc across the sky”

Walking along Davis Creek, 9am. There is white ground fog rising from the valley floor, creating a beautiful white arc across the sky. It is so quiet and peaceful. A short time later the whispy whiteness has burned off and the clear blue sky and sunshine lights up the trees. Sounds of many different birds…

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Fall beauty in the Little Lake Valley

Friday, October 20, 2017 Mid-day walk along Berry and Davis Creeks Fall is everywhere, dark clouds and even a short shower reminds me that winter is around the corner. The valley is bright with yellows and oranges, Oregon Ash  and Cottonwoods...

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Photo of the Week

Week # 2 Black Tail Deer

“Oh deer, what’s all this flagging about?” Black-tailed doe walking through our mitigation planting area (flag in foreground) Over 1 million plants have been planted on the mitigation lands with an estimated success rate above 80%. During the planting infancy each plant is flagged to mark the location to assist in maintenance and monitoring.


For more incredible pictures of wildlife and landscapes, please read our ‘Observations and Ruminations’ blog written by Willits’ local, and Mendocino County RCD Project Interpreter, Marisela De Santa Anna.

Gallery of Weekly Photos