Luke Matthews

birds in flight over flooded rice fields

Stay Wild: The Epic Grind

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER: LESLIE MORRIS, WILDLIFE ENTHUSIAST & COMMS. MANAGER FOR CRC: JIM MORRIS Alone before dawn, one frigid winter morning, wildlife photographer Leslie Morris was setting up her gear in a duck blind in the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge in Glenn County awaiting the arrival of migrating birds. She was encouraged as the shadowy outlines of birds

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family of burrowing owls

How you can help threatened waterbirds

THREATENED AND ENDANGERED SPECIES LIVE IN THE SACRAMENTO VALLEY California rice fields have become increasingly important surrogate wetlands habitat for many wildlife species, including large numbers of migratory waterbirds, wading birds and shorebirds traversing the Pacific Flyway. Many special-status avian species, including some that are threatened, have adapted to cultivated ricelands for rest, feeding and

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buffle head ducks

California BirdReturns

BIRDRETURNS ENABLES GROWERS TO HELP BIRDS The BirdReturns program compensates rice growers who create waterfowl and shorebird habitats by keeping their harvested fields submerged longer than usual. Rice growers understand that their agricultural fields are ecologically important as habitat for native and migrating wildlife, particularly waterbirds. But agricultural production cycles don’t necessarily coincide with avian

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White egret taking flight

Rice fields teem with aquatic life for much of the year

Human activity often is in conflict with nature, but in some special places certain human endeavors harmonize exquisitely with the natural environment. Such is the case in the rice fields of California’s Sacramento Valley. Viewed from aircraft, the marshy rice fields radiate the glistening rays of the sun. At ground level, though, the lush land

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view of flooded rice fields


REPORT FROM THE NATURE CONSERVANCY’S BIRDRETURNS PROGRAM The Nature Conservancy is grateful for the California Ricelands Waterbird Foundation’s support of the BirdReturns program, which created approximately 800 acres of additional habitat in spring 2016. Together with the Rice Commission’s significant role in designing and carrying out the program over the last three years, the Conservancy


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