Reclamation District No. 108 has teamed up with The Nature Conservancy to provide habitat for shorebirds. The shorebird program paid rice farmers in the district to flood fields in the early spring of 2014. The flooding lasted from 12 to 30 days and provides critical habitat for shorebirds in the spring before flooding of rice. Because the program pays for only several weeks of water instead of buying the habitat, the costs are modest.
Eventually, using this and other approaches, the Nature Conservancy hopes to increase the number of shorebirds that stop in the Sacramento Valley. The program is an example of the growing movement called reconciliation ecology, in which ecosystems dominated by humans are managed to increase biodiversity. Due to the success of the program in the spring, RD 108 and TNC are working with District landowners to try to continue and expand the program to include both spring and fall shorebird habitat.