Ducks Unlimited was recently awarded a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant to conserve 3,456 acres of habitat in Honey Lake Valley and adjoining areas in northeast California, the first NAWCA Grant to focus entirely on this region. DU will collaborate with a diverse partnership of federal, state, local and private entities to deliver the SONEC: Honey Lake Sub-basin Wetlands I Project.
“The Honey Lake Valley region provides a major wetland linkage for several million waterfowl coming from prairie Canada via the Great Salt Lake to the east and wintering grounds in the Central Valley to the west,” said DU Regional Biologist John Ranlett. “Wetland and upland habitat improvements provided by this project will benefit numerous waterfowl, shorebirds, other waterbirds and songbirds that use the area during their annual cycles.”
Approximately $2.26 million in partner funds will be paired with $1 million in NAWCA grant funds to underwrite wetlands restoration and enhancement activities on nine sites in the Intermountain West Joint Venture’s Southern Oregon Northeast California (SONEC) Wetlands Focus Area. The SONEC region, comprised of seven primary wetland sub-basins, is one of the most important wetland complexes for spring migrating waterfowl, waterbirds and shorebirds in North America. The Honey Lake sub-basin is also regionally important for migrating and breeding shorebirds and waterbirds.
The proposal focuses on restoration and enhancement of nearly 1,800 acres of seasonal and semi-permanent wetlands due to their high value to spring migrating waterfowl, waterbirds and shorebirds in the region. Actions already undertaken by grant partners Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) and Leavitt Lake Ranches (LLR) have permanently protected 1,700 acres of wet meadow, irrigated pasture, and associated upland habitats on the Leavitt Lake Ranch and Wood Ranch property that provide important foraging and nesting habitat for many species of waterfowl, shorebirds, waterbirds and songbirds.
Species benefitting from the proposed work include northern pintail, mallard, cinnamon teal, gadwall, redhead, and scaup; Canada goose and lesser snow goose; white-faced ibis, sandhill crane; and long-billed curlew, Wilson’s phalarope, and American avocet. Neotropical migratory songbirds that will benefit from the project include willow flycatcher, yellow warbler, lazuli bunting, and Bullock’s oriole.