Abstract: The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is one of several programs implemented by the United States Department of Agriculture to facilitate natural resource management on private lands. Since the WRP’s inception approximately 29,000 ha in California’s Central Valley (CCV) have been restored. However until now, actual benefits of the program to wildlife have never been evaluated. Hydrology in the CCV has been heavily modified and WRP wetlands are managed primarily to support wintering waterfowl. We surveyed over 60 WRP easements in 2008 and 2009 to quantify avian use and categorized bird species into 11 foraging guilds. We detected over 200 bird species in 2008 and 119 species in 2009, which is similar to or higher than numbers observed on other managed sites in the same area. We found that actively managed WRP wetlands support more waterfowl than sites under low or intermediate management, which is consistent with intended goals. Despite reported water shortages, greater upland and un-restored acreage in the southern CCV, WRP wetlands support large numbers of waterfowl and shorebirds, particularly in the early fall months. This is probably due to the severe lack of alternative habitat such as wildlife friendly crops at appropriate stages of the migration cycle. Improved access to water resources for hydrological management would greatly enhance waterfowl use in the southern CCV.
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Kahara, S.N.; Duffy, W.G.; DiGaudio, R.; Records, R. Climate, Management and Habitat Associations of Avian Fauna in Restored Wetlands of California’s Central Valley, USA. Diversity 2012, 4, 396-418.
Kahara SN, Duffy WG, DiGaudio R, Records R. Climate, Management and Habitat Associations of Avian Fauna in Restored Wetlands of California’s Central Valley, USA. Diversity. 2012; 4(4):396-418.
Kahara, Sharon N.; Duffy, Walter G.; DiGaudio, Ryan; Records, Rosemary. 2012. "Climate, Management and Habitat Associations of Avian Fauna in Restored Wetlands of California’s Central Valley, USA." Diversity 4, no. 4: 396-418.