Southern Oregon Northeastern California Landowner Factsheet

The Southern Oregon-Northeastern California (SONEC) landscape is a unique region that has been identified as a continentally important migration and breeding area for birds moving along the Pacific Flyway. Comprised of eight counties across Oregon, California, and Nevada, this is some of the most productive land on the continent for livestock and wetland birds.

SONEC is ranching country. Livestock producers tend over 150,000 cow-calf pairs and raise 250,000 tons of hay annually. Harney County ranches are also notably large, averaging nearly 3,000 acres. Since 75 percent of all freshwater emergent wetlands in SONEC are privately owned, these private lands are essential to strategic bird conservation efforts. Flood irrigation in historic floodplains, haying, and grazing create the ideal setting for these birds. Traditional agricultural practices mimic the seasonal flooding that occurred before European settlement. The SONEC region can support over 4.8 million dabbling ducks for an estimated 21 days during the spring migration. The region’s wet meadow habitats provide rich food resources that help fuel migration and breeding activities. Without this critical habitat during the spring migration these birds would suffer a higher mortality rate and reduced ability to produce ducklings.

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