Coalition releases plan to protect bird habitat

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A public-private partnership released a 10-year plan to restore and protect bird habitat in the Central Valley that also offers significant benefits to local communities, including flood protection, increased access to recreation and re-establishment. groundwater. The Central Valley Joint Venture (CVJV) is a coalition of 19 public and private organizations that coordinate efforts to conserve Central Valley birds and their habitats for present and future generations.

The central valley is home to one of the largest concentrations of migratory birds in the world; more than 100 million birds representing 400 species use the valley each year. Much of the central valley’s natural habitat has been converted over the years to agriculture and urban development, and climate change has intensified episodes of drought and reduced the snowpack. CVJV partners have made great strides in protecting existing habitat and restoring new habitats to support bird populations in the Central Valley. Despite these efforts, many bird populations have declined dramatically and many species are threatened with extinction, following trends across North America. This new plan identifies the work needed to reverse these trends in ways that increase climate resilience, support human communities, and protect natural resources today and for future generations.

“CVJV goes beyond land ownership boundaries to protect and restore bird habitat,” said James Cogswell, CVJV coordinator. “We work with everyone from farmers and duck hunters, state and federal agencies, to non-profit conservation organizations, coordinating efforts to protect and maximize bird habitat. For example, the land can be cultivated for rice, and then when flooded for decaying rice straw, it provides habitat for ducks and shorebirds in the fall and winter. Land along rivers can be replanted with native trees and shrubs to provide climate-resilient bird habitat while stabilizing riverbanks and storing carbon. Floodplains can be reconnected to rivers, reducing the risk of flooding for downstream communities, recharging groundwater and increasing access to recreational opportunities for the public.

The CVJV Science Implementation Plan sets bird population and habitat goals to guide conservation efforts over the next decade. It identifies the number of acres of different habitat types that must be protected or restored to support the recovery of bird populations now and into the next century. The plan identifies realistic opportunities for landowners, agencies, cities and counties and state policy makers to benefit birds, other wildlife and people, even during years of extreme drought like this. -this.

“The Central Valley is a very changed landscape, but birds don’t necessarily need pristine habitat to thrive,” said Khara Strum, CVJV board member and conservation project manager at Audubon in California. “Shorebirds, ducks and other waterfowl depend on flooded agricultural fields in addition to natural areas. During drought, waterbirds are left high and dry without access to flooded land. CVJV partners are working together to create essential flooded habitat for these birds. Based on a decade of research, we know when and where to put water to maximize benefits for a variety of species.

Many CVJV projects create improved recreational and economic opportunities related to habitat protection and nature-based tourism. And many projects have multiple benefits, such as improving water quality, reducing the risk of flooding, creating a habitat that will last despite climate change, and improving water management. water in the valley.

CVJV has a strong track record in habitat conservation and effective mobilization of external funding sources. CVJV’s achievements since the previous implementation plan, finalized in 2006, include:

• Protect 26,000 acres, restore 42,000 acres and improve 250,000 acres of wetland habitat through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant program.

• Plant nearly 2 million trees and shrubs and restore 8,000 acres of land along rivers and streams, increasing total riparian bird habitat in the Central Valley by 20 percent.

• Protect populations of several species of birds at risk, including Bell’s vireo (a songbird once thought to be extinct in the valley), sandhill cranes and tricolor blackbirds.

• Flood post-harvest farmland and private wetlands in the Sacramento, Delta, San Joaquin and Tulare areas in a targeted manner to provide critical habitat for shorebirds, ducks and other waterfowl during this year’s extreme drought. .

Several CVJV partners are collaborating on the 2021-22 Drought Relief Waterbird Program to create this habitat, with $ 10 million in funding from the California Department of Water Resources and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The Central Valley Joint Venture is a public-private partnership that aims to conserve Central Valley birds and their habitat for current and future generations.

Learn more about the CVJV and its member organizations at https://www.centralvalleyjointventure.org/partnership/cvjv-partners.


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