By Published On: May 26, 2014

20-Year Partner in California Wetland Conservation Recognized

The California Waterfowl Association (CWA), a long-time champion of waterfowl and wetlands, has worked with the IWJV and its many partners for over twenty years to further shared goals for conserving wetlands in northeastern California. Since 1993, CWA has restored nearly 13,000 acres, enhanced more than 8,500 acres, created 3,650 acres of Walking Wetlands, restored 15.5 miles and 134 acres of riparian habitats, and protected more than 7,100 acres with conservation easements. All this has occurred within the Southern Oregon and Northeastern California (SONEC) region, one of the IWJV’s two highest priority wetland focal areas.

“The California Waterfowl Association has been a tremendously valued partner in wetlands conservation in northeastern California for over two decades,” said Dave Smith, IWJV Coordinator. “They have rolled up their sleeves, built partnerships in rural intermountain valleys, and delivered tangible habitat accomplishments.  CWA’s work is foundational to the IWJV’s current initiative of accelerating working wetlands conservation over the next decade as needed to sustain Pacific Flyway waterfowl populations during spring migration.”

CWA’s accomplishments within the IWJV portion of California are substantial and multi-faceted. Here are just three of their major accomplishments:

  • In 1995, CWA formed a partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to facilitate the Wetlands Reserve Program on private land, which led to the restoration of thousands of acres of wetlands in the Big Valley, Fall River Valley, Butte Valley, and Klamath Basin. CWA partnered with NRCS to employ a partner biologist who was stationed in Tulelake, California. It also secured and administered a Conservation Innovation Grant in excess of $1 million dollars that installed conservation practices on private lands.
  • CWA has dedicated resources and employed a regional biologist for more than two decades in the SONEC region that supports approximately 80% of the Pacific Flyway’s dabbling ducks, a staggering 4.9 million birds, during spring migration. That position has been responsible for a tremendous amount of work and has successfully developed partnerships and implemented landscape scale conservation efforts. In addition, CWA’s public policy and communications efforts strengthened program funding and overall support for habitat conservation throughout the SONEC region, especially within the Klamath Basin.
  • Recently, CWA entered into an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to facilitate the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in SONEC. CWA also developed a partnership with the California Wildlife Conservation Board, Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Pacific Gas and Electric Corporation to submit and secure a $1 million standard North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant for northeastern California, with work being done on private land as well as the federal refuge and state wildlife areas. CWA also secured several small NAWCA grants and several California State Duck Stamp Grants to improve habitats on public lands throughout the region, including the Ash Creek Wildlife Area and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

From left to right: Jake Messerli (CWA Vice President of Conservation Programs), Miles Moretti (CEO Mule Deer Foundation), Rick Maher (retired CWA Regional Biologist), and Dave Smith (IWJV Coordinator).

Through cooperative agreements, contracts, and direct contributions, CWA continues to build partnerships to deliver on the ground conservation at a landscape scale. The 2014 IWJV Conservation Partner Award was presented to CWA’s Jake Messerli, Vice President of Conservation Programs, and Rick Maher, retired Northeastern California Regional Biologist, at the IWJV’s Spring 2014 Management Board Meeting in Spokane, Washington.

“California Waterfowl Association is grateful for the award and the efforts of the IWJV to facilitate partnerships that deliver habitat conservation in such a critical region of the Pacific Flyway,” said Messerli.  “We look forward to working with the joint venture and its many partners to address the countless conservation issues that threaten wetland habitats and waterfowl populations throughout the intermountain region of Southern Oregon and Northeastern California.”