“The Sacramento Valley is primed for reconciliation ecology. Consider how both waterbirds and salmon were pushed out of their habitat in favor of farming—and how both are now being brought back in.”
This was the central theme of a recent article in Comstock Magazine, “More Bang for your Duck”, which describes in detail the various efforts underway in the Sacramento Valley to improve fish, birds and other wildlife in concert with farming and our flood protection system.
The map below shows the areal extent of the Pacific Flyway, which generally mimics the traditional floodplain in the Sacramento Valley. This includes both the ricelands (green) and wildlife refuges (red, blue and orange) that serve as the important food source for migrating birds along the Pacific Flyway, as well as increasingly serving as the “bug buffet” for fish and other wildlife throughout the Sacramento Valley. The key to this food production for fish and wildlife is spreading water out over the region and slowing it down to mimic the natural processes in a modern landscape, thus allowing the magic connection between water and land in the Valley. There is a concerted effort among water managers and conservation leaders to expand these programs and develop modern flows for these important purposes that offer mutual solutions.