Working Landscapes Program Benefits California Farmers

© Michael Furtman

Ducks Unlimited recently completed a Delta Working Landscapes program in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta. As part of this program, 16 projects were completed, restoring 312 acres of seasonal and semipermanent wetlands. The 1,100-square-mile Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta has lost 95 percent of its historical wetlands through reclamation and conversion to agriculture. 

Delta Working Landscapes encourages farmers to restore native grassland, riparian, and wetland habitats. Incorporating habitat improvements on working farms benefits waterfowl and other wildlife and restores native plants, conserves soils, and improves water quality, which are crucial to the sustainability of the delta. 

One such project expanded an existing "borrow pond" to create a four-acre semipermanent wetland. A small seasonal wetland and native grassland transition habitat were also restored. "It's been very rewarding working with Ducks Unlimited to restore a small piece of the landscape," said landowner Tom Uslan. "I have seen wildlife respond positively to these changes in a very short time frame, which is well beyond what I had expected. I am proud to say that my farm has contributed to a sustainable ecosystem, and I look forward to doing more." 

If DU can demonstrate to other farmers that conserving habitat on their lands will pay dividends for future generations, this ecosystem can be restored on a much larger scale. Funding for this program was provided by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Ecosystems Restoration Program in partnership with the Delta Protection Commission and Delta Eco Farms.