INSIDE Chico State
0 October 11, 2001
Volume 32 Number 4
  A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
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Henning’s Property Added to Big Chico Creek Ecological Preserve

President Esteban and Felicia Contreras congratulate Dolly Moore-Solomon.

photo by:Roger Lederer

The Big Chico Creek Ecological Preserve will be increased by 1,226 acres, to 3,950 acres, thanks to the continuing partnership of regional, state, and local organizations. The preserve, a rich riparian and upland habitat for fish and wildlife, is located approximately 10 miles northeast of Chico near Bidwell Park.

The Research Foundation of California State University, Chico, which operates the preserve through the Bidwell Environmental Institute, purchased the new acreage Sept. 27 from the River Conservancy, a program of River Network, an Oregon-based conservation group. The River Network had acquired the property from former owner Jack Henning with the intent to add it to the ecological preserve.

The cost of the new acreage was $3.46 million. A number of entities contributed to the funding for the purchase, including $1.73 million from the California Wildlife Conservation Board, a division of the California Department of Fish and Game; $630,000 from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation of Los Altos, California; $300,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Federation; and $100,000 from the California Deer Association. Henning and the River Network also made substantial contributions

“The preserve is going to be one of the most outstanding riparian conservation areas in California, and a tremendous resource for fish, wildlife, and the community,” said Phillip Wallin, director of the River Conservancy program.

“There will be wonderful educational and research opportunities at the preserve, thanks to the contributions of many committed parties,” said Ken Derucher, dean of CSU, Chico’s College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology, who oversaw fund raising for the property acquisition.

Roger Lederer, former dean of natural sciences, is the director of the institute and the Rawlins Professor of Environmental Literacy. He will direct the management, education, and research components of the preserve. He said of the importance of the preserve, “It will greatly increase our ability to train students in environmental literacy. We train them to be good lawyers and scientists and engineers; we need to begin training them to make important decisions about the environment.”

The original preserve property was acquired from former owners Dan Drake and Darwin and Ed Simmons in Aug. 2000.

The preserve is home to more than 140 identified species. It will provide protected habitat for Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.

Usage of the preserve will be discussed by a technical advisory committee and citizen’s advisory committee, which will recommend action to the Research Foundation.

Joe Wills

 

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