The Putah Creek watershed is home to myriad rare plants and animals (including Western Pearlshell mussels), and a strong community of people who care about its preservation. Putah Creek is probably named for the Pooewin (Patwin) village, Puta-to, located in what is now downtown Davis.
The Putah Creek watershed begins from springs on the east side of Cobb Mountain. The creek is ~70 miles long and its watershed encompasses a vast array of ecosytems whose make up is determined by geology, elevation, and micro-climates.
Defining attribues of the watershed include Monticello Dam (forming Lake Berryessa, one of the largest reserviors in California) and the Yolo Bypass. The upper watershed lies above Berryessa and is characterized by oak savannas, rolls hills, and steep terrain. The watershed below the dam includes 32 miles of Putah Creek, much of which is flat and flanked by agriculture.
Read more here about the Putah-Cache Bioregion.
To learn more about the history of Putah Creek, and its journey from a dried up creek bed to the flowing, thriving community resource it is today, read the 5-part Putah Creek Legacy series, a joint reporting project from Climate Confidential and The Davis Enterprise.