California Wetlands Initiative

Restoring and conserving California's wetlands

Ducks flying over water

Physically fit wetlands have been known to attract millions of migrating ducks and geese, other wildlife, fish, and outdoorsmen and women of all sorts. In California, they also provide critical wintering grounds for waterfowl, especially pintails and white-fronted geese, and continually enhance water quality for rural and metropolitan areas. In spite of these values, wetlands in California have been destroyed or altered at greater rates than anywhere else in the United States.

Ducks Unlimited's California Wetlands Initiative is the perfect prescription for these threatened and ailing wetlands. After a thorough examination by DU biologists, the proper dose of science-based restoration is administered by engineers across the state and wetlands are continually and carefully monitored as they return to full health.

DU works as a team with other skilled experts—public agencies, non-profit organizations, and private landowners—to ensure quality waterfowl habitat and to provide opportunities for public hunting and other waterfowl-related recreation. As a result, wetlands across California are sustaining waterfowl populations at levels that provide for the needs of the birds and the enjoyment of people on a myriad of landscapes.

You can help California's wetlands receive a clean bill of health by supporting proven conservation strategies through Ducks Unlimited's California Wetlands Initiative. Whether you're an avid outdoor recreationist or a resident of a metropolitan area who relies on wetlands for clean drinking water, you can be part of this wetland recovery dream team by making a gift to California's wetlands today.

A Legacy of Permanent Protection

For decades, Ducks Unlimited has used conservation easements to protect important waterfowl habitat from high-density development across the nation. These easements provide permanent landscape protection while allowing landowners to retain and enjoy their lands. In California, privately owned habitats often include some of the last remaining wetland complexes in the region, making easements a key part of DU's conservation strategy under the California Wetlands Initiative.

Conservation easements also serve double duty by providing permanent habitat protection and serving as an asset  when Ducks Unlimited seeks public funding. The monetary value of the easements provides DU with an important non-federal match when applying for North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants or other state and federal funding programs.

DU's Five-Year Plan for California Wetlands

Ducks Unlimited is seeking to raise $6.3 million in philanthropic funds to achieve our conservation goals in California. Funding derived from the California Wetlands Initiative enables Ducks Unlimited to conduct important science, public policy, and outreach efforts, as well as conserving the breeding habitats important to waterfowl that migrate and winter in the state. DU's research and evaluation efforts are the foundation upon which our direct conservation programs and our policy and outreach work are based.

Three areas of particular concern under the California Wetlands Initiative are the San Francisco Bay Area, the Central Valley, and the Lower Klamath Basin. While each area offers a unique set of needs and challenges, water management issues are among the highest concerns across the board. With your gift to the California Wetlands Initiative, Ducks Unlimited will continue to work with partners and landowners to address water shortages and management concerns from a waterfowl perspective. DU will also remain focused on restoration in the high-priority Central Valley, where 95 percent of historic wetlands critical to millions of wintering waterfowl have been lost and continue to disappear each year.

California Initiatives at a Glance

Five-year Goals (FY 2012-16)
Habitat Delivery: 60,681 acres
Public Revenue: $68.5 million
Philanthropic Revenue: $6.3 million
Total Revenue Goal: $74.8 million

Initiative State:

Conservation Focus:
California's Central Valley and San Francisco Bay Area are considered by Ducks Unlimited to be among the five highest-priority habitats for North American waterfowl. As the state's population continues to grow and water-use issues escalate, DU remains committed to actively pursuing every opportunity to protect, restore, and rehabilitate the state's dwindling wetland habitat.

Cross-border Conservation



While thousands of miles separate California's wetlands from breeding habitats in Alaska, the boreal forest of Canada, and the prairies, they are crucial to the survival of many waterfowl species. These breeding grounds are where millions of Pacific Flyway ducklings are hatched each year. DU is working to identify and protect the most important boreal wetlands and address ongoing threats to the U.S. and Canadian prairies.


When you give to DU's California Wetlands Initiative, your gift will go to projects close to home, but will also ensure that the breeding grounds on both sides of the border will be protected before restoration is required. Birds don't recognize borders and neither do DU's conservation efforts.

California Wetlands Need You Now

Your gift to Ducks Unlimited is invaluable, and it is truly the greatest contribution you can make to secure the future of wetlands and waterfowl. Every dollar you give to Ducks Unlimited is leveraged multiple times to create a conservation impact far beyond your initial gift. In addition, we invest at least 80 cents of every dollar received in our conservation mission. Start making a difference right now for waterfowl, outdoorsmen, and future generations of wildlife and people by making your gift to DU's California Wetlands Initiative. Help conserve more than 60,000 acres of key wetland habitats in California with your gift today.

Don't wait.
Call DU at (916) 852-2000 today to speak with fundraising staff in your area.

Make an online gift.

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