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Decision Support for Wetland and Wildlife Management

February 11, 2022

Central Valley Water and Land Use Futures

USGS Scientists published a StoryMap showing projected changes in land use, flooded area, and wildlife habitat in California’s Central Valley for five scenarios of future climate and water management.

California’s Central Valley contains habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife in the form of wetlands and flooded cropland. These habitats are at risk of being lost due to land use change and declining water availability. To support coordinated conservation in California, wetland restoration, and climate adaptation planning, scientists at U.S. Geological Survey and Point Blue Conservation Science developed projections of the Central Valley's seasonally flooded cropland and wetland wildlife habitat for five scenarios water availability and management scenarios. These scenarios were co-produced through a series of workshops with resource managers, and decision-makers form a multitude of state and federal agencies and non-governmental organizations. This study found that declining water availability was the primary contributor to habitat loss. Declines in total flooded area were greatest in hot, dry climate scenarios, whereas declines in seasonally flooded cropland habitat were greatest in warm, wet climate scenarios due to conversion to perennial cropland (Wilson et al. 2022).

This StoryMap shows where these projected changes may happen across Central Valley management units. Future land use change, flooded area, and contributions to wildlife habitat change were mapped at a 270 m2 spatial resolution and summarized for each region, Central Valley Joint Venture Basin, groundwater basin, and Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) Zone.

Photo of a Mallard duck.
A mallard bathes in the waters of Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Source: Mike Peters, US Fish and Wildlife Service. Public Domain.