The Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences designated 620,000 acres of California's Sacramento Valley as a Shorebird Site of International Significance.
The majority of this area is comprised of nearly 550,000 acres of productive California ricelands. The remaining acres are comprised of the other natural and managed wetland habitat in the Sacramento Valley. By including nearly every acre of rice in California, land that provides critical habitat for millions of shorebirds, ducks, geese, and other wildlife, the Manomet Center has created the third largest conservation area within the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) and the second largest site of its kind in North America.
The Sacramento Valley was approved by the Western Hemisphere ShorebirdReserve Network Council as a shorebird site of International importance onSeptember 19, 2002 after receiving positive endorsements from scientific reviewers. The site hosts at least 14 species of shorebirds including significant percentages (over 10 percent) of the populations of Dunlin and Long-billedCurlew (listed as a "Highly Imperiled" species by the U.S. ShorebirdConservation Plan, 2001). In total, the site is used by over 200,000 shorebirdsannually and 60 percent of the Pacific Flyway waterfowl on almost 620,000acres of managed wetlands and cultivated ricelands. The site is also known tosupport the highest density of wintering raptors in the world.
Nurturing shorebirds and other wildlife is getting more important in theSacramento Valley-almost by the day. As many of the sensitive open spaceareas in California shrink due to urbanization, the public interest in the needfor ricelands and wetlands that support wildlife increases. Current scientificestimates of shorebird populations indicate that more than half of the 74species in the Western Hemisphere are suffering a serious decline as theyconfront habitat losses and disturbance through their ranges.
The designation as a "Shorebird Site of International Significance" may be thesingle most important recognition of the contribution rice growers have madeto California's wildlife habitat resources. In addition, our mosaic of ricelands isfurther complemented by a host of other valuable federal, state and privatelyowned wetlands. This is an important partnership between the California riceindustry and wetland conservation organizations that make up this specialshorebird area.
We appreciate the assistance of our many conservation partners in helping toestablish this important conservation site and helping to make our shorebirddedication event so successful. This list of important contributingorganizations includes the Central Valley Habitat Joint Venture, U.S. Fish &Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish & Game, Ducks Unlimited,California Waterfowl Association, Natural Resources Conservation Service,Butte Sink Waterfowlers Association, PRBO Conservation Science, The NatureConservancy and the Conaway Ranch.