California Natural Resources Secretary, Farmers, Conservationists celebrate water birds 

Ducks Unlimited brought together California’s top natural resources official, agriculture leaders and conservationists inside a Sacramento movie theater to share an appreciation for wetlands and waterfowl.

The Jan. 24 event featured a special screening of “Wings Over Water,” a documentary film about the importance of wetlands and birds that was produced with Ducks Unlimited’s support.

The film, narrated by actor Michael Keaton, follows sandhill cranes, mallards and yellow warblers returning from their wintering grounds to nest on the Prairie Pothole Region.

As is the case for wetlands in California, much of that region’s habitat is under constant threat of being lost forever, a tragedy that would deprive 60% of the continent’s songbirds and ducks of their breeding grounds.

The film highlights how partnerships with farmers and conservationists are key to saving waterfowl and their habitats.

That’s a theme that that resonated with Wade Crowfoot, the secretary of California’s Natural Resources Agency.

Before the showing, he praised Ducks Unlimited and other conservation organizations as well as farmers and hunters for collaborating to save California’s few remaining wetlands and use agricultural lands to help ecosystems.

“If you’re a duck club that’s doing conservation, if you’re a farmer or rancher that’s involved in the work that the Montnas have helped to lead, if you’re a water agency that’s stepping up and trying to figure out how to do more of this, thank you,” Crowfoot told the packed theater.

The Montnas are a prominent Sacramento Valley rice farming family, and they have been among the region’s leaders in using winter-flooded rice fields to support migratory waterfowl.

They’re also deeply involved in ongoing efforts to use rice fields as surrogate floodplain habitat to sustain California’s endangered salmon populations.

Montna Farms sponsored the evening’s showing. Al Montna is an at-large Ducks Unlimited board member.

Montna told the audience that saving the Central Valley ecosystem would likely be “the biggest environmental achievement on this continent.”

“And we can do it,” he said.

The “Wings Over Water” film was produced in partnership with McGraw, Ducks Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited Canada and Audubon. The film was sponsored by Uline, Bass Pro and First Horizon Foundation.

For more information, visit, and be sure to Follow DU's Twitter feed – @DucksUnlimited and @DUConserve – to get the most up-to-date news from Ducks Unlimited.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 15 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit 

Media Contact: 

Ryan Sabalow, Western Region - Communications Coordinator 

(916) 805-1210