Case study

Protecting shorebird habitat using rice fields

Remote Monitoring

Each year, an estimated 1 billion birds use the Pacific Flyway during their migratory journey. But in recent decades, wetland-dependent species such as shorebirds are lacking natural stopping points as a result of development and land use change. Purchasing and restoring land is prohibitively expensive, but rice fields present an ideal ground for compromise. Through a program called BirdReturns, The Nature Conservancy and other partners provide compensation to farmers to flood rice fields at certain times of year in order to provide migratory bird habitat. Using public surface water data in Lens, it’s possible to confirm the timing and extent of flooding on the rice field.