Workers from the City’s Recycling and Solid Waste Division last week were finishing their annual weed abatement at the 28th Street Landfill when they spotted some playful residents.
Several coyote pups had exited their den and were frolicking in the recently cut golden-brown grass.
City staff said they have observed several other species of animals in the area, including rabbits, snakes and hawks.
The abundance of wildlife underscores how much this old city landfill has changed over the years.
The site was closed for waste dumping purposes in 1995, but even an inactive landfill requires ongoing care and maintenance.
Above ground, City staff work to maintain the landfill without disturbing any wild animals. Public Works strategically uses a tractor to cut and trim the vegetation on the 100-acre parcel as part of the City’s overall fire prevention efforts.
“We do a lot to maintain the open space around Sutter’s Landing Park,” said Planning Superintendent John Febbo. “Mowing and weeding significantly reduces the potential for fire to spread. We do this every year in late spring once the ground dries out.”
The tractor has had an unintended side effect: scattering rodents that provide nourishment for the local birds of prey that make the area their home this time of year. The hawks follow the tractor’s progress hoping for an easy meal.
The City recently finalized the acquisition of an additional 33 acres of open land for Sutter’s Landing Regional Park, which will be dedicated to wildlife habitat protection and extending local bikeways and hiking trails.