Sacramento River Basin Wetland Water Supply (Bird Returns)
This project partners with The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Bird Returns Program and local rice farmers to keep fields flooded to sustain critical wetland habitat in California’s Central Valley. By providing funding that supports TNC’s Bird Returns Program, rice farmers in California’s Sacramento River basin are able to acquire water and create wetland habitat on their farmland during critical periods of the year to benefit birds migrating on the Pacific Flyway. By providing a relatively tiny amount of water—and using that water during critical times of the year and in strategic locations—TNC and the Bird Returns Program is able to generate significant wildlife benefits. Almost 95% of wetland habitat has been lost in California’s Central Valley, and by working collaboratively with farmers, this project provides an important new revenue stream for rice growers while creating a water and wetland lifeline for hundreds of thousands of migratory birds. The project seeks to provide 10,000 acres of habitat each year for hundreds of thousands of migrating shorebirds that rely on California’s Central Valley.