The Sonoran Desert includes some of the most altered and imperiled, but nonetheless important, wetlands in the Pacific Flyway. The Colorado River delta was once a vast oasis for millions of wintering waterfowl. However, during some dry years the river may not reach the Sea of Cortez, and the wetlands all but vanish. About the same time the delta began to disappear, the Salton Sea was created by a yearlong breach of a canal from the Colorado River to southern California. With the loss of the Colorado River delta, the Salton Sea now supports most of the waterfowl wintering in the Sonoran Desert.

Water supply is the critical limiting factor for wetlands in this region. The wildlife refuges along the lower Colorado River, the duck clubs of El Centro and the Salton Sea public waterfowl areas that are now supporting the region's wetlands all compete with urban and agricultural interests for water deliveries.

Ducks Unlimited's conservation programs in the Southern California Region focus on enhancing existing habitat management infrastructure and restoring historic wetlands near the Salton Sea and along the lower Colorado River.

Southern California Projects

Including the Salton Sea, southern coastal regions and San Jacinto area

Lower Colorado River