Large-scale impact through public policy

photo by Monica Iglecia

Snow Geese. © Monica Iglecia

While much of the bird habitat in the Central Valley has been lost over the last century, a set of public policy and planning projects currently underway offers an unprecedented opportunity to regain valuable bird habitat.

The goal of the Migratory Bird Partnership’s policy work is to ensure that migratory bird conservation is integrated into region-wide efforts and to bring the greatest benefits to birds, other wildlife, and people. Indeed, migratory bird conservation is not a stand-alone issue, but rather is part of a larger conversation about land-use and ecosystem management in California. Migratory bird habitat and working lands can provide rearing habitat for ocean-bound salmon, flood protection for rural communities, recreational opportunities for people, and the natural capital that will allow communities to prepare for climate change. For migratory bird conservation to be sustainable, it must be integrated it into the larger vision and planning processes that will define the future of the Central Valley.

The Partnership contributes to these projects by bringing bird and climate science voices to the table, providing conservation planning expertise, and sharing the real-world lessons we have learned from designing and managing habitat demonstration projects that also provide wider human benefits, such as reduced flood risks.

Our primary areas of interest include:

  • Ensuring that adequate water supplies are available to create suitable habitat for wintering, breeding and migrating birds.
  • Sustaining and growing the variety of land conservation programs that protect and restore habitat on public lands and in partnership with private landowners on a voluntary basis.
  • Ensuring that efforts to restore the California Bay/Delta are performed in a manner that protects existing migratory bird habitat values and investments and where practicable enhances these benefits as part of a comprehensive Delta restoration strategy.
  • Advocating at the local level commonsense land use patterns and policies that protect agriculture and open space values inclusive of migratory birds.
  • Understanding the challenges presented by global climate change on migratory bird conservation in California and ensuring that programs designed to help natural systems adapt to changing conditions include appropriate elements that benefit migratory birds.