Southern Oregon-Northeastern California Conservation Insight

Farm Bill Conservation Programs Can Help Meet the Needs of Spring-Migrating Waterfowl in Southern Oregon-Northeastern California

Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) Conservation Insight

Summary Findings:

The Southern Oregon-Northeastern California (SONEC) region is an important migration and breeding area for Pacific Flyway waterfowl. Through a Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) partnership, the Intermountain West Joint Venture conducted a preliminary analysis of the contribution of SONEC Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) enrollments in meeting recently established spring migrating waterfowl habitat objectives. Results suggest that WRP wetlands may meet up to 21 percent of the energetic needs for spring-migrating dabbling ducks in SONEC at North American Waterfowl Management Plan goal levels.


Spring-migrating waterfowl habitat conservation targets for SONEC on private lands call for 64,700 acres of flood-irrigated agricultural wetland habitat. Recent trends in conversion from flood irrigation to sprinkler irrigation of pastures present challenges to meeting spring migrating waterfowl habitat objectives in SONEC.

Management Insights:

Spring flooding and vegetation management that provides shallow water habitats and early-successional vegetation can greatly benefit pintails and other migrating waterfowl and shorebirds. Working lands conservation programs can be used strategically to support flood irrigation on working ranches and help meet SONEC spring-migrating waterfowl habitat requirements. Easement programs that restore and maintain wetland hydrology in the spring and allow haying and grazing as compatible uses and/or as regular vegetation management tools can help meet SONEC spring-migrating waterfowl habitat objectives.