Industry News

Flooding Opportunities – Drought Relief Waterbird Program

Flooding Opportunities – Drought Relief Waterbird Program

In response to extreme drought-related concerns for Pacific Flyway waterbirds, the California rice industry has teamed up with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to fund a special $8 million Drought Relief Waterbird Program. This program seeks to create waterbird habitat through the operation of groundwater wells to winter flood rice fields for migratory birds. The program will be rolled out on an expedited timeframe, given the rice harvest schedule this year.  

Although we will accept light tillage such as a single disc or chisel pass, we will not accept heavy tillage. Waste grain is an important food source for waterfowl and deep tillage can bury a significant amount of the grain left after harvest. In order to be considered for this program, do not use heavy tillage prior to flooding.

The key details of the program are as follows:

  • Growers can submit bids to the California Ricelands Waterbird Foundation to recover groundwater pumping costs for flooding habitat. 
    • Bidding will open September 8 and close September 20, 2021 at 5:00 pm.
  • Notifications about bid status will be issued by October 4, 2021.
  • Flooding period will be from November 1, 2021 though January 31, 2022. 
  • Required water depths between 2-8 inches.
  • Flooding must be done with groundwater.
  • Any combination of the following post-harvest treatments is acceptable: Bale, Burn, Chop, No Treatment, Roll, Single Disc or Chisel pass, Stomp.
  • To ensure compliance, enrolled fields will be monitored by the Foundation.
  • Areas within a five miles radius from Sacramento Metro and Beale Airports are ineligible for this program. 

Technical questions about this program should be directed to Luke Matthews, the CRC’s Wildlife Programs Manager, at or (916) 607-8988.

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CRC Board Nominations Underway

The CRC has a number of seats up for election for a three-year term on the board. Check your mailbox for the open seats and nomination form. You can nominate yourself or someone you believe would make a great board member. Forms are due back by July 15th

Didn’t receive a nomination form? Call 916-387-2264 and we will get one out to you.

Available Seats*District
01District 2: Colusa County
13District 3: Glenn and Tehama counties, and counties north thereof
33District 4: Yuba and Sutter counties
33District 5: Sacramento, San Joaquin, Placer and Yolo counties, and counties south thereof

*No seats are open in Butte

NCWA’s Updated Water Year Outlook & Impacts

NCWA’s Updated Water Year Outlook & Impacts

The Northern California Water Association has released the most updated water year outlook, which includes a newly released economic impact report centered on Sacramento Valley rice country.

The study by the University of California, Davis details economic income losses to all crops in the region, with the rice industry facing more than $703 million in drought-related impacts, mainly to rice mills, dryers and suppliers.

This latest water year update also details urban conservation requirements and current groundwater levels.

Click here to view the full report.