Waterbird habitat in California's Central Valley basins under climate, urbanization, and water management scenarios

Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management
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Abstract

California's Central Valley provides critical, but threatened habitat and food resources for migrating and wintering waterfowl, shorebirds, and other waterbirds. The Central Valley is comprised of nine basins that were defined by the Central Valley Joint Venture (CVJV) to assist in conservation planning. Basins vary in composition and extent of habitats, which primarily include croplands and wetlands that rely on water supplies shared with other competing human and environmental uses. Changes in climate, urban development, and water supply management are uncertain and could reduce future availability of water supplies supporting waterbird habitats and limit effectiveness of wetland restoration planned by the CVJV to support wintering waterbirds. We modeled 17 plausible scenarios including combinations of three climate projections, three urbanization rates, and five water supply management options to promote agricultural and urban water uses, with and without wetland restoration. Our research examines the reduction in quantity and quality of habitats during the fall migration-wintering period by basin under each scenario, and the efficacy of planned wetland restoration to compensate reductions in flooded areas of wetland habitats. Scenario combinations of projected climate, urbanization, and water supply management options reduced availability of flooded cropland and wetland habitats during fall-winter and degraded the quality of seasonal wetlands (i.e., summer-irrigation for improved forage production), though the extent and frequency of impacts varied by basin. Planned wetland restoration may substantially compensate for scenario-related effects on wetland habitats in each basin. However, results indicate that Colusa, Butte, Sutter, San Joaquin, and Tulare Basins may require additional conservation to support summer-irrigation of seasonal wetlands and winter-flooding of cropland habitats. Still further conservation may be required to provide sufficient areas of flooded seasonal and semi-permanent wetlands in San Joaquin and Tulare Basins during fall-winter. The main objective of this research is to provide decision-support for achieving waterbird conservation goals in the valley and to inform CVJV's regional conservation planning.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Waterbird habitat in California's Central Valley basins under climate, urbanization, and water management scenarios
Series title Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management
DOI 10.3996/122016-JFWM-095
Volume 9
Issue 1
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 20 p.
First page 75
Last page 94
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Central Valley