California Ricelands Waterbird Foundation

California Ricelands Waterbird Foundation logo

Advancing the quality of Sacramento Valley Waterbird Habitats

The California Ricelands Waterbird Foundation (“Foundation”) is a partnership between rice farmers and conservation groups for the long-term sustainability of habitat for waterbirds and other wildlife in California’s Sacramento Valley.

This close relationship between the Foundation and the California Rice Commission brings a significant number of California rice growers to the table who are willing to alter their farming practices for the benefit of waterbirds. In addition, cooperative contributions from many waterbird conservation partners bring forward key technical expertise which insures that waterbird habitat enhancement projects will be successfully deployed.


Through over a decade of work to develop and refine beneficial waterbird practices, the Foundation now has a working model for receiving private and public financial contributions and efficiently putting these dollars right onto the ground in real, quantifiable waterbird conservation programs.

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Waterbird and Foundation Articles

buffle head ducks

California BirdReturns

August 19, 2019

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 […]

White egret taking flight

Rice fields teem with aquatic life for much of the year

August 5, 2019

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 […]

numerous birds in flooded rice fields

Foundation takes the reins to directly administer a proven habitat program

December 26, 2018

Like a fledgling about take flight, the California Ricelands Waterbird Foundation is poised to administer its habitat management program independently, for the first time.

Owl perched on a stick

Riceland Owls

December 26, 2018

This fall, the California Ricelands Waterbird Foundation is proudly celebrating owls, a feathered family that encompasses close to 200 distinct species across the globe.

view of flooded rice fields


December 1, 2016

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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