From AgAlert – The return of fully planted rice crops to the Sacramento Valley following years of drought has restored another essential feature of the region. After harvest, reservoirs replenished by last year’s historic storms enabled farmers to flood more of their fields this winter, creating wetland habitat for migrating waterfowl. Right now, “You can’t drive down the road without seeing thousands of geese,” said Kim Gallagher, who grows rice along Highway 45 in Yolo and Colusa counties and participates in government-funded programs that incentivize rice farmers to flood their fields in the winter for wildlife conservation. Birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway have stopped in the Central Valley for centuries, resting and refueling for their journey north in the spring. But since the Gold Rush, California has lost 95% of its wetlands to development. (more)