Wetland managers in the Central Valley of California require information regarding the amount and location of existing wetland habitat to make decisions on how to best use water resources to support multiple wildlife objectives, particularly during drought. Scientists from the USGS’s Western Ecological Research Center, Point Blue Conservation Science, and the USFWS are partnering to learn how the flooded wetland habitats, which are often agricultural lands that are used by waterfowl and shorebirds, change through the year. During extreme drought conditions, the ability to provide sufficient water for wildlife often depends on the timing of water deliveries and decisions whether to fallow croplands. Waterfowl and shorebirds may be particularly affected by these decisions because they typically rest and feed in flooded habitats. Poor habitats resulting from improper water deliveries could reduce waterfowl hunting opportunities and body condition. The research team will develop near real-time tracking of waterbird habitats and connect it with near real-time tracking of waterfowl throughout the valley to learn which habitats the birds use and why. This information can be used to show how wetlands can be managed to provide the best possible habitat for waterbirds, even during extreme drought.
Impact of drought on waterbird wetland habitats, bioenergetics, and movements in the Central Valley of California
Project Start Year
Michael L. Casazza (US Geological Survey), Elliott L. Matchett (US Geological Survey), Cory T. Overton (US Geological Survey), Josh T. Ackerman (US Geological Survey), Mark P. Herzog (US Geological Survey), Sam Veloz (Point Blue Conservation Science), Gregory S. Yarris (Central Valley Joint Venture), Rebecca Fris (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Mike Wolder (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Rachel A. Esralew (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), John Eadie (University of California Davis), Mark Petrie (Ducks Unlimited)