Variable drawdown field in winder. © Melany Aten

Variable drawdown field in winter. © Melany Aten

Conservation is complicated. Science makes it simpler.

Not only do we need to understand the current state of a system, but the predicted future of that system as well. We need to have an idea of where to employ activities such as easements and acquisitions and we need to know how to restore or manage single sites and entire landscapes. We need to know if we have been successful, and if we are not, how to adapt our approaches to make them more effective.

The Migratory Bird Conservation Partnership believes that the scientific method is an essential ingredient in the conservation soup.

We do applied research to find the best restoration and management practices that benefit farmers and birds. We use predictive models to understand where to prioritize conservation given limited resources and an uncertain future, and we monitor our progress toward restoring populations of migratory birds. By sharing our findings with other conservation scientists, we make our science stronger and contribute to a growing body of knowledge that is improving conservation throughout the world.

Recent Publications by the Migratory Bird Conservation Partnership
  • Byrd KB, Lorenz AA, Anderson JA, Wallace CSA, Moore-O’Leary KA, Isola J, Ortega R, Reiter ME. 2020. Quantifying drought’s influence on moist soil seed vegetation in California’s Central Valley through remote sensing. Ecological Applications 00(00):e02153. DOI: 1002/eap.2153
  • Holl KD, Golet GH. 2020. Sacramento River: balancing ecological and social restoration goals to restore riparian habitat along a lowland floodplain river, California, USA. Online case study in: Holl KD, editor. Primer of Ecological Restoration. Washington, D.C.: Island Press. Available from:
  • Matsumoto S, Rohde MM, Heard S. 2019. Policy Note: “Economic Tools to Achieve Groundwater Sustainability for Nature: Two Experimental Case Studies from California.” Water Economics and Policy 5:1971002. DOI: 1142/S2382624X19710024
  • Peterson CA, Marvinney E, Dybala KE. 2020. Multiple Benefits from Agricultural and Natural Land Covers in California’s Central Valley. Technical Report, Migratory Bird Conservation Partnership, Sacramento, CA: pp 1-114. Available from:
  • Popovic I, Toews DPL, Keever CC, St. Clair CT, Barbaree BA, Fernández G, Rourke J. 2019. Genotyping-by-sequencing reveals genomic homogeneity among overwintering Pacific Dunlin (Calidris alpina pacifica) aggregations along the Pacific coast of North America. The Condor 121:duz036. DOI: 1093/condor/duz036
  • Reiter ME, Palacios E, Eusse D, Johnston R, Davidson P, Bradley D, Clay R, Strum KM, Chu J, Barbaree BA, Hickey CM, Lank DB, Drever, M., Ydenberg, R. and Butler R. In press. A monitoring framework for assessing threats to non-breeding shorebirds on the Pacific coast of the Americas. Avian Conservation and Ecology.
  • Robinson OJ, Ruiz-Gutierrez V, Reynolds MD, Golet GH, Strimas-Mackey M, Fink D. 2020. Integrating citizen science data with expert surveys increases accuracy and spatial extent of species distribution models. Diversity and Distributions. DOI: 1111/ddi.13068
  • Rohde, MM, Reynolds M, Howard J. 2020. Dynamic multibenefit solutions for global water challenges. Conservation Science and Practice 2:e144. DOI: 1111/csp2.144
  • Souza-Cole I, Arthur S, Jensen L, Sesser KA, Strum KM. 2020. Slow and Steady: Gradual Drawdown of Private Wetlands Supports Shorebirds During Northbound Migration. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management. DOI: 3996/102019-JFWM-089
  • Strum KM, Sesser K, Golet GH. In press. Enhancing Rice Agriculture in California’s Central Valley. In: Iglecia MI and Winn B, editors. A Shorebird Management Manual. Manomet, MA: Manomet.
  • Dybala KE, Matzek V, Gardali T, Seavy NE. 2019. Carbon sequestration in riparian forests: a global meta-analysis. Global Change Biology 25:57-67.
  • Dybala, KE, Steger K, Walsh RG, Smart DR, Gardali T, Seavy NE. 2019. Optimizing carbon storage and biodiversity co-benefits in reforested riparian zones. Journal of Applied Ecology. 56:343-353.
  • Hanak, E, Escriva-Bou A, Gray B, Green S, Harter T, Jezdimirovic J, Lund JR, Medellín-Azuara J, Moyle P, Seavy N. 2019. Water and the future of the San Joaquin Valley. Public Policy Institute of California report.
  • Seavy, NE, Humple DL, Cormier RL, Porzig EL, Gardali T. 2018. Evidence of climate change impacts on landbirds in western North America: A review and recommendations for future research. in Trends and traditions: Avifaunal change in western North America (W. D. Shuford, R. E. Gill Jr., and C. M. Handel, eds.), pp. 331–343. Studies of Western Birds 3. Western Field Ornithologists, Camarillo, California.
  • Sesser KA, Iglecia M, Reiter ME, Strum KM, Hickey CM, Kelsey R, and Skalos DA. 2018. Waterbird response to variable-timing of drawdown in rice fields after winter-flooding. PLoS ONE
  • Shuford WD, Reiter ME, Sesser KA, Hickey CM, and Golet GH. 2019. The relative importance of agricultural and wetland habitats to waterbirds in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta of California. San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science 17 (1) 1–25.
  • Barbaree BA, Reiter ME, Hickey CM, Elliot NK, Schaffer-Smith D, Reynolds MD, Page GW. 2018. Dynamic surface water distributions influence wetland connectivity in a highly modified interior landscape. Landscape Ecology.
  • Dayer A, Lutter S, Sesser K, Hickey CM, Gardali T. 2018. Private landowner conservation behavior following participation in voluntary incentive programs: Recommendations to facilitate behavioral persistence. Conservation Letters.
  • Escriva-Bou A, Gray B, Green S, Harter T, Howitt R, MacEwan D, Medellín-Azuara J, Moyle P, Seavy N. 2017. Water Stress and a Changing San Joaquin Valley. Public Policy Institute of California report.
  • Golet GH, Low C, Avery S, Andrews K, McColl CJ, Laney R, Reynolds MD. Using ricelands to provide temporary shorebird habitat during migration. Ecological Applications.
  • Mount J, Gray B, Chappelle C, Gartrell G, Grantham T, Moyle P, Seavy N, Szeptycki L, Thompson B. 2017. Managing California freshwater ecosystems: Lessons from the 2012-2016 drought. Public Policy Institute of California report.
  • Reiter ME, Elliott NK, Jongsomjit D, Golet GH, Reynolds MD. 2018. Impact of extreme drought and incentive programs on flooded agriculture and wetlands in California’s Central Valley. PeerJ.
  • Reynolds MD, Sullivan BL, Hallstein E, Matsumoto S, Kelling S, Merrifield M, Fink D, Johnston A, Hochachka WM, Bruns NE, Reiter ME, Veloz S, Hickey CM, Elliott N, Martin L, Fitzpatrick JW, Spraycar P, Golet GH, McColl C, Morrison SA. 2017. Dynamic conservation for migratory species. Science Advances.
  • Schaffer‐Smith D, Swenson JJ, Reiter ME, Isola JE. 2018. Quantifying shorebird habitat in managed wetlands by modeling shallow water depth dynamics. Ecological Applications.