Recent Storms Good News For Central Valley Birds

Storms that dumped up to five inches of rain in certain parts of Northern California last weekend couldn’t have come at a better time, according to Peter Otteson of the Stockton Record, as refuges and ag lands prepare for the start of duck hunting season on Saturday.

Several state and national refuges that had been bone dry in the past several years due to the devastating drought have much better outlooks for 2016 thanks to spring rains, and now, with the unexpected influx of October water, should have prime habitat conditions for waterfowl.

Mark Biddlecomb, director of operations for Ducks Unlimited’s western regional office, said the recent storm dropped so much precipitation that regulators are allowing rice farmers to pump water out of the Sacramento River to flood harvested fields. This produces a two-fold result allowing farmers to decompose rice stubble and providing waterfowl access to waste grain.

Near Willows, the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex composed of Sacramento, Colusa, Delevan and Sutter refuges are flooding up and will open on time for hunters. Sutter NWR, which has been dry the start of the season for many years, is taking water, about a 50-50 split between the sanctuary and hunting areas.

To read all of Peter’s story, click here.