- Los Vaqueros
- About Los Vaqueros
- Wildlife and Lands
Wildlife and Lands
mpty headWildlife, Lands, and Environmental Stewardship
Since the planning of the original construction of Los Vaqueros, Contra Costa Water District has remained committed to mitigating all environmental impacts to less than significant levels. The Los Vaqueros Watershed protects nearly 20,000 acres of wildlife habitat in eastern Contra Costa County and a portion of Alameda County. The unique property is home to many protected species, including the Alameda whipsnake, California tiger salamander, California red-legged frog and the San Joaquin kit fox. The watershed occupies a unique biogeographical transition zone between coastal and interior habitats, between lowland grasslands and higher elevation woodland and chaparral habitats, and also between southern and northern elements of the Coast Ranges flora.ing
Learn about Special Status Species and Habitats
Golden eagles are commonly found all year within the nearly 20,000-acre watershed. During the spring and early summer months, CCWD closes trails and other public areas near active nesting sites.
Bald Eagles are starting to become regular visitors to the Los Vaqueros Watershed. For the last several years, they've been seen between the months of December and March.
Poisonous rattlesnakes are very common in the Los Vaqueros Watershed. A rattlesnake is distinguished by a triangular-shaped head that is noticeably larger than its neck, a dull body and a blunt tail with one or more rattles.
San Joaquin Kit Fox
The San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica) is a subspecies of the kit fox, the smallest member of the dog family in North America.
California Red Legged Frog
The California red-legged frog is the largest frog west of the Continental Divide. It was often offered in restaurants in San Francisco and Central Valley in the early 1900s.
California Tiger Salamander
The California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense) is in the Central Valley and adjacent foothills and coastal grasslands.
The grazing animals are brought into the watershed to chew up the grass not only for fire protection in the summer, but to keep the grass growth down for the protection of the Kit Fox habitat.
Los Vaqueros is lion country, so their appearance at the watershed is not unexpected. Please be aware you are in lion country at Los Vaqueros and take appropriate precautions.
The population of valley oak trees in the Los Vaqueros watershed has been on a noticeable decline in the last century due to farming and cattle raising.
The District proposed to replace the values of lost alkaline wetlands during dam construction by enhancing existing degraded wetlands through fencing and other improvements.