On Interstate 80 at the Yolo Causeway between Davis and Sacramento, you will see a large sign identifying the Vic Fazio Yolo Wildlife Area. That sign showing the logos of the many Yolo Basin partners marks the location of one of the nation’s most exciting developments in wetland conservation and education.
Covering 25 square miles and home to nearly 200 species of birds, the Wildlife Area is located in the heart of one of the country’s richest agricultural areas, alongside one of America’s busiest people throughways I-80, and next to a bustling metropolitan area, Sacramento.
The 16,000-acre Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is one of the largest public/private restoration projects with 3,700-acres of land in the Yolo Bypass floodway restored to wetlands and other associated habitats, with more restoration in the works.
The California Department of Fish & Wildlife manages the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area to promote an increase in waterfowl and other bird populations.
President Bill Clinton dedicated this remarkable area in November 1997, and hailed the project as a national model for meeting the challenge of “trying to improve our economy and lift our standard of living while improving, not diminishing, our environment.” He also acknowledged the extraordinary collaboration and effort that have enabled our mosaic of seasonal and year round ponds, grasslands, and riparian forest to thrive.
The establishment of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area and the work of the Yolo Basin Foundation have been widely regarded as a model for planning and completion of other wetland projects in the Yolo Bypass. The Bypass is a key component of the habitat restoration planned as part of the Cal/Fed Bay Delta Accord process now underway, and is a vital element of the Central Valley Habitat Joint Venture’s habitat restoration goals. The Foundation is an important local player in implementing these many plans.
The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is the site of the Discover the Flyway program for schools implemented by the Yolo Basin Foundation and in partnership with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. More than 4,000 students, teachers and parents visit the area annually to learn about the importance and beauty of this local wetland and its significance for their lives.
Guided tours of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area are available the second Saturday of each month from October to June.
Functions of the Yolo Bypass
The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is managed for many uses and provides a wide variety of benefits. The functions and their order of priority are:
- Flood Control
- Wildlife and Habitat Management
- Recreation and Educational Uses
The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is located within the Yolo Bypass, a flood control structure within the historic Yolo Basin floodplain, whose boundaries are defined by constructed levees. The Bypass carries Sacramento River water at overflow to the Delta and is operated as part of the Sacramento River Flood Control System.
The Wildlife Area has been carefully designed and constructed to avoid impacts on the flood carrying capacity of the Yolo Bypass and hazardous levels of mosquitoes without impacting surrounding farming operations. Intensive management is necessary to accommodate the constraints imposed by these conditions and still provide suitable habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife species.
During periods of high precipitation and/or extreme run-off events, the Bypass will continue to function as it has since it was constructed in the early 1900s. The major change resulting from the creation of the Wildlife Area concerns water control and wildlife management during non-flood periods.
Hours And Regulations
The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is open to the public everyday of the week from sunrise to sunset except on December 25 and during periods of flooding.
- Permits and fees for daily public use are not required.
- Sunrise/Sunset times are posted on the front gate as well as in Parking Lot A.
- At this time bicycles and dogs are allowed only in the Causeway which is between Interstate 80 and the Railroad tracks.
- Horses are not allowed in the area.
- Vehicles must stay on the gravel tour route or parking lot areas.
- There are multiple walking trails throughout the Wildlife Area.
- Facilities in the Wildlife Area are limited.
Feel free to explore!
Hunting & Fishing
Waterfowl, pheasant, and dove are hunted in the Wildlife Area during their respective seasons. Hunting and fishing regulations are posted on the California Department of Fish & Wildlife website. Please contact the CDFW for further information on open seasons and regulations.
California Department of Fish & Wildlife
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area Headquarters
45211 County Rd 32B (Chiles Rd)
Davis, CA 95618
Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.