The fight over the Delta’s drought-stricken waters has pitted agricultural interests against cities, and against environmentalists. In a normal year, from late summer into the winter, the state floods the Cosumnes Preserve to create a stopover for traveling birds, some headed as far as Alaska. But the drought has put the preserve’s water delivery in jeopardy.
“This year with the reduction in water supplies because of the drought we’re not going to be able to flood as much of the historic habitat or the natural habitat,” said Jeff McCreary of the advocacy group Duck’s Unlimited. “So we’re going to see an overall decline in the overall habitat for birds this winter.”
McCreary said recent research shows the state’s waterfowl population is at record highs, up eight percent from two years ago. That creates more pressures as a growing number of beaks compete for a dwindling supply of food.
“The water that’s going to be available is going to see significant increases in the density of birds in these areas,” said McCreary, “which could lead to overeating the food, as well as disease such as cholera.”
Although the feature focused on the Cosumnes Preserve, which actually has more water than most other refuges in California, the message can be applied statewide and should be a rallying call to action for both citizens and legislators.
Click here to watch the entire video.