Along the banks of the Tuolumne and San Joaquin rivers, farmers have grown their crops. But the property was bought by a conservation group and is re-transforming the 1,603 acres into the wild wetlands it had been in ancient times. It’s part of a restoration project that also helps with flood control and water supply management.

The restoration will likely take a decade to complete and cost more than $10 million more – the land was bought for $21 million. It’s one of several projects in the greater Central Valley that looks to restore land that was altered by levees and the Gold Rush. Using computer modeling, hundreds of native plants and trees will be re-introduced to the land that in turn will supply an ecosystem to support migratory bird and fish patterns.

The plan calls for floodwaters to breach the levees in rainy months, inundating the land. That water, along with the re-introduced wildlife, will create an environment similar to the wetlands that once were prevalent in the area.

It will also supposed to contribute to the state’s water storage solution, as large quantities of water can be released from reservoirs without impacting local communities.

Read the full article at the San Francisco Chronicle.