A recent report from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Trends in Duck Breeding Populations 1955-2012, shows that the number of mallards, teals, canvasbacks and other ducks has reached the highest level ever recorded in North America. The report shows a total estimate of 48.6 million breeding ducks in Canada and the United States, which is 7% higher than last year and 43% higher than the historic average going back to 1955.
In the Sacramento Valley, the following chart shows the positive trends in ducks, including the Sacramento Valley represented by the light blue line.
The report highlights the importance of habitat for migrating ducks throughout North America. Central to the success of these ducks in the Sacramento Valley has been concerted and creative water management for both public refuges and private lands (including ricelands and other managed wetlands), which has provided important habitat and food for ducks migrating along the Pacific Flyway. This water management has been a result of various partnerships between landowners, water agencies and conservation organizations, including the Central Valley Joint Venture.
Despite these successful efforts for the Pacific Flyway, there remain various proposals as part of California’s ongoing Bay-Delta debate to redirect water away from the Sacramento Valley, which could undermine these partnerships and the successful efforts to provide both habitat and food for these ducks and many other species along the Pacific Flyway.
A story in the San Jose Mercury News can be seen at: Duck numbers reach record high