Spatiotemporal variability of inland shorebird stopover wetlands along the Pacific Flyway
Shorebirds are among the most migratory species on Earth, traversing incredible distances each year from their breeding grounds to wintering grounds, and back again. The critical network of staging and stopover sites which these birds use rest and forage may be at risk due to climate change. Conservation and climate adaptation strategies are needed to protect the heavily managed water resources in California for the human and natural communities that rely on them. In collaboration with Point Blue Conservation Science (http://www.pointblue.org/) we will use remote sensing to characterize the extent and persistence of these waterbodies, and to determine how this affects shorebird use of stopovers.
With Point Blue and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we are studying inundation patterns and water depth distributions over the past 30 years in the Sacramento Valley. We are evaluating how shorebirds have responded to dynamic changes in both broad and fine-scale habitat availability.
Climate and water allocation decisions by humans can have dramatic impacts on the availability of flooded habitat in the Sacramento Valley. Our classifications of Landsat imagery from a wet spring in 2006 and during the drought in 2014 illustrate these extremes.
Water depth is a major driver of habitat accessibility for shorebird species in the Sacramento Valley. We are measuring water depth within managed wetlands and flood-irrigated rice fields in the Sacramento Valley to assess fine-scale habitat suitability within different wetland types.
At left is an example of estimated water depth (cm) over the course of a year within one of the wetlands we are monitoring. This visualization was generated using water depth sensor measurements and high-resolution topography data.
May 2017 The Hoot Owl, San Joaquin Valley Audubon
April 5, 2017 News, California Migratory Bird Conservation Partnership
April 4, 2017 Interview, Capital Public Radio, Sacramento, CA
April 3, 2017 Rice News, California Rice Commission
March 28, 2017 California Water News, Maven’s Notebook
March 27, 2017 PhysOrg
March 27, 2017 ScienceDaily