Recent California drought caused severe impacts on Central Valley wildlife and habitat
Date: July 12, 2018
Source: Point Blue Conservation Science
New research shows how financial incentive programs can create vital habitat for waterbirds, filling a critical need in drought years. Researchers used satellite images to evaluate two issues: 1) the impact of the 2013-2015 drought on waterbird habitat in the Central Valley; and, 2) the amount of habitat created by incentive programs.
Projections by climate scientists suggest that severe droughts may become more frequent over the next century, with significant impacts to wildlife habitat. Fortunately, new research from scientists at Point Blue Conservation Science and The Nature Conservancy shows how financial incentive programs can create vital habitat for waterbirds, filling a critical need in drought years.
Between 2013 and 2015, the Central Valley of California sustained an extreme drought, dramatically reducing wildlife habitat. The area is recognized as of hemispheric importance for waterbirds, which use flooded agricultural land and wetlands as habitat. Under two innovative financial assistance programs, farmers are provided with an incentive payment to flood their fields at key moments to create habitat for waterbirds. Until this research, the landscape effects of these incentive programs had not been rigorously studied.