California nabs $5.5 million RCPP award for waterbird habitat enhancement

A pair of American avocets wade in a California rice field — photo courtesy California Rice Commission

The California Rice Commission and its industry partners have received a Regional Conservation Partnership Program award worth nearly $5.5 million. The funds will be used to continue collaborative work aimed at enhancing waterbird habitat in working rice fields.

In addition to existing goals, the award also will help fund a few new objectives that include planting cover crops for nesting birds, such as mallards that are in decline. The CRC also plans to roll out a focused pilot program to restore small non-cropped areas on rice farms to permanent native cover to help pollinators, pheasants and other uplands birds.

“We are excited to continue our long-tenured partnership with the California Rice Commission and its partners to enhance ricelands waterbird habitat that is so critical to the Pacific Flyway,” Carlos Suarez, Natural Resources Conservation Service California state conservationist, said in a CRC news release.

Among the participating partners are Audubon, California Waterfowl, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Ricelands Waterbird Foundation, Central Valley Joint Venture, Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited, Northern California Water Association, Pheasants Forever, Point Blue Conservation Science, Rice Research Board, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Service.

For questions on overall program development, contact CRC environmental affairs manager Paul Butter at or 916-206-5340. For questions on practices, please contact wildlife programs manager Luke Matthews at or 916-607-8988.

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