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Rice and Ducks in California

Rice farmers, waterfowlers and waterfowl have always had a symbiotic relationship, particularly in California, where flooded rice fields offer important winter habitat and food for waterfowl, a place to hunt for leasees and a great way to prepare fields for the next planting season. But with drought conditions of historic proportions currently affecting the entire state, all of us need to help each other more than ever.

Simply put, the birds need all the food they can get in harvested fields. The breeding duck survey in the Pacific Flyway this past spring reported the largest numbers since surveys began in 1955. Therefore, the fall flight of birds that will need to find critical wintering habitat in the Sacramento Valley is expected to be very high.