Water

Water and wetlands are vital for the survival of California’s birds.

Wood Duck Photo: Harry Collins

Water is fundamental to our lives, our communities, and our economy. Water is also of vital importance to the survival of California’s birds and the habitats that support them. From our coastal estuaries to inland wetlands and waterbodies, water is the foundation of life.

Central Valley wetlands Photo: Lighthawk

That’s why Audubon California has been leading efforts to secure water when and where birds and people need it.  This includes working on the policies and in the places where water matters most. We advocate for birds and drinking water for communities in five key ways:

 

  • Implementing California’s new groundwater management law;
  • Mobilizing our network during drought to monitor the health of birds;
  • Advocating for our elected leaders to protect water for habitat;
  • Restoring coastal and Salton Sea wetlands that provide habitat, filter water, and recharge groundwater supplies; and
  • Advocating for long-promised water deliveries to vital wildlife refuges.

 

Read more about the important work that Audubon California is doing to secure water for birds and for communities below.

Central Valley wetlands Photo: Lighthawk
The Case for Wetlands in the Central Valley
Water

The Case for Wetlands in the Central Valley

Vital protections are needed for wetlands that depend on groundwater under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

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Fighting for Central Valley birds
Working Lands

Fighting for Central Valley birds

Audubon California continues to advocate for adequate water supplies for Central Valley refuges.

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New Study: Wetlands Restoration Can Improve Water Quality in Central Valley
Water

New Study Highlights Opportunity for Wetlands Restoration to Improve Water Quality in the Central Valley

Vibrant ecosystems can absorb carbon dioxide helping mitigate climate change and nitrogen cleaning the run-off from human use of the land for agriculture or development.

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Restoring Sonoma Creek for Climate Resilience
Coastal Resiliency

Restoring Sonoma Creek for Climate Resilience

First-of-its-kind project restores 400 acres of tidal marsh habitat along Sonoma Creek in northern San Francisco Bay, helping withstand sea level rise and storm surges from climate change.

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Restoring the Sonoma Creek Marsh
Audublog

Restoring the Sonoma Creek Marsh

Audubon California is nearing the end of a massive restoration of wetland habitat in San Francisco Bay.

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Governor Newsom Issues Groundbreaking 30 x 30 Executive Order
Press Center

Governor Newsom Issues Groundbreaking 30 x 30 Executive Order

California is first in nation to commit to protecting 30% of our lands and waters by 2030.

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Salton Sea
Salton Sea

Securing a home for birds at the Salton Sea

Audubon California is helping secure the future of one of the state's key bird habitats.

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State Habitat Restoration Project Breaks Ground at Southern End of Salton Sea
Press Center

State Habitat Restoration Project Breaks Ground at Salton Sea

Coalition of conservation and community groups says groundbreaking is positive step towards ending years of inaction at California’s largest lake.

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Audubon Kern River Preserve
About Us

Audubon Kern River Preserve

One of the first ten sites in the U.S. to receive "Globally Important Bird Area" recognition.

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Latest news

As state makes new commitments on Salton Sea timeline, it will still be judged by its work on the ground
Water

As state makes new commitments on Salton Sea timeline, it will still be judged by its work on the ground

— With water deliveries set to stop on Dec. 31, the state must move to control toxic dust and protect and restore fish and wildlife habitat.
25th anniversary of water reform law provides perspective on progress and challenges
Water

25th anniversary of water reform law provides perspective on progress and challenges

The Central Valley Project Improvement Act has played a major role in preserving habitat. It would do even better if fully implemented.

Gunnison Island: Home of up to 20,000 nesting American White Pelicans
Water

Gunnison Island: Home of up to 20,000 nesting American White Pelicans

Our Audubon colleague from Utah gives us an update on American White Pelicans on the Great Salt Lake

Working with rice farmers to help birds in the Central Valley

Audubon California's Khara Strum ventures out to Sutter County to visit a rice farm that is flooding early to provide habitat for migratory birds. She uses the visit to talk about our work with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the California Rice Commission to provide more habitat for these birds on farms.

The fight continues for responsible water management in California’s Central Valley
Water

The fight continues for responsible water management in California’s Central Valley

Audubon California and other conservation groups vow to oppose H.R. 23 in the Senate.

House passes H.R. 23, the worst water bill we've seen

Waterfowl at the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge. Photo: Jim Gain

The U.S. House of Representatives this morning passed H.R. 23, which we opposed because it seeks to wrest control over much of California's water from the state to the feds. If eventually signed by President Trump, it will overturn decades of negotiations on water in California. Audubon California opposes it because it will divert water from the Center Valley refuges, undermine the Endangered Species Act, and halt the restoration of the San Joaquin River. Audubon activists sent about 3,500 emails to Congress just in the last week in opposition to this bad bill. Now it moves on to the Senate, where we will continue our fight.

David Yarnold op-ed: Saline lakes are drying up across the West — and putting birds at serious risk

Audubon President David Yarnold writes today in the Los Angeles Times about how short-sighted management of water in the arid West is putting birds -- and people -- at risk. Speaking about the shrinking saline lakes -- such as the Salton Sea and the Great Salt Lake -- he notes that birds are incredibly reliant on these ecosystems that have been increasingly destabilized by diversions.

"Because water birds in the West depend on the region’s entire network of salt lakes, these declines could be catastrophic for the global populations of some species. For instance, 99% of the North American population of eared grebes — small waterfowl distinguished by bright red eyes that are framed by sassy tufts of golden feathers — depends on western saline lakes to survive their long migrations. What’s more, dams, diversions, extended drought and water demand along the Colorado River have devastated cottonwood-willow forests and other native river habitat. While this riverbank habitat accounts for less than 5% of the regional landscape, it supports more than 40% of all bird species in the Southwest."

Conservation groups demand to be included in high-level Salton Sea talks
Salton Sea

Conservation groups demand to be included in high-level Salton Sea talks

Audubon California joined with Defenders of Wildlife and Sierra Club to ensure that public health and environmental issues are addressed.

Bird populations crashing at the Salton Sea

Excellent reporting in the Desert Sun about how observers are starting to see dramatic declines in bird populations at the Salton Sea. Time is running out to fix things.

Following this year's rains, not all birds and habitat areas getting water

We've always said that for some birds and habitat areas, it's always a drought. This new piece from Water Deeply is latest example.

How you can help, right now