Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
SAN LUIS NWRC: Local Wetlands Win Big
California-Nevada Offices , September 15, 2008
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By: Kim Forrest, San Luis NWRC Project Leader

It’s a win-win situation in the California Grasslands: private landowners, the California Resources Agency, and the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge Complex, working together to restore wetlands in the San Joaquin Valley, have been awarded a $509,000 North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant to further their conservation efforts. 


This half-million dollar grant helps fund the eighth phase of a multi-phase initiative to protect, restore and enhance wetlands and associated uplands in the Grasslands Wildlife Management Area and along the San Joaquin River


Project partners will restore and enhance 1,854 acres of wetlands and wetlands-associated uplands on private lands.  These lands will provide long-term benefits to wetlands conservation and migratory birds because the lands are protected under U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service perpetual conservation easements.


The restoration work will provide resting and foraging habitat for wintering waterfowl and year-round habitat for other riparian and wetlands dependent birds and wildlife.  The northern San Joaquin Valley—especially the wetlands in Merced and Stanislaus counties—is a critically important wintering area for Pacific Flyway migratory birds, with peak annual numbers of ducks and geese ranging from 800,000 to 1,000,000.  This area contributes to meeting goals of multiple migratory bird conservation plans, the Riparian Habitat Joint Venture, and the CalFed Bay-Delta Ecosystem Restoration Program.  The area has been designated a wetlands of international significance under the Ramsar Convention.   


The area is under intense development pressure due to population growth and changing agricultural practices.  The San Joaquin Valley Region ranked second in the state of California for urban growth from 1996 to 1998.  Wetlands and wildlife-friendly agricultural operations around the project area are being lost; continued loss of wetlands and open space in this region will adversely impact continental migratory bird populations as well as endangered species.  The habitat restoration, enhancement, and protection made possible by this NAWCA grant and the combined efforts and contributions of all partners will help staunch this habitat loss and provide for some of the needs of migratory birds and local wildlife.

The North American Wetlands Conservation Act of 1989 provides matching grants to organizations and individuals who have developed partnerships to carry out wetlands conservation projects in the United States, Canada, and Mexico for the benefit of wetlands-associated migratory birds and other wildlife.  This is a competitive grants program and requires that grant requests be matched by partner contributions at no less than a 1-to-1 ratio. The programs support projects that involve long-term protection, restoration, and/or enhancement of wetlands and associated uplands habitats.

Contact Info: Alex Pitts, , alexandra_pitts@fws.gov
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