Wetlands for a New Water Era

CAWETLANDS_droughtsheet_V2The West, and in particular the Central Valley of California, is in the throes of a massive drought that threatens to change the face of the state’s remaining wetland habitats. One of the most fertile agriculture hubs in the world, the Valley provides important food resources and a place for four to six million waterfowl every winter, making it one of DU’s highest priority areas in North America. However, with reservoir levels at historic lows and 100% of the state in severe to exceptional drought conditions, waterfowl face dire circumstances as they arrive in the fall only to find a number of wetlands dry or in poor conditions.

Ducks Unlimited protects, restores, and manages wetlands for waterfowl other wildlife and people. DU optimizes benefits from limited water supplies in a new water era so that California and other western states can sustain traditional waterfowl populations despite ongoing challenges.

The California drought has demonstrated the future challenges that all water users will face, particularly wetland dependent wildlife, as we enter a new era of water use.  Presumably the drought will end.  Yet maximizing the agricultural, urban and environmental benefits from limited water supplies will remain central to the future of our state’s natural environment.  Today, DU’s conservation efforts address challenges at a variety of scales from conserving habitat at the individual site to influencing policies that affect the whole landscape, indeed the entire Pacific Flyway.

Ducks Unlimited is the authoritative voice and leader of actions as they relate to the future availability, reliability, resiliency, and sustainability of water for wetland and waterfowl-friendly agriculture.  As such, our California Wetlands Initiative strategic plan guides us towards integrated solutions to the challenges that wetlands and waterfowl face. These solutions combine direct conservation activities with scientific research and education all complemented by targeted public policy and advocacy. The plan not only leads us towards increasing water-use efficiency to maximize food production in important waterfowl habitats, but how we are changing the conversation about how water is used in California. We are making a difference on the landscape for wetlands, waterfowl, and the people who enjoy them and want to leave a lasting legacy for future generations.

For more information on how you can become involved, contact Devin Blankenship | dblankenship@ducks.org