Watchable Wildlife Central Valley

California Watchable Wildlife celebrates the state's wildlife and diverse habitats by acknowledging and elevating the value of wildlife viewing to benefit individuals, families,communities, and industries while fostering awareness and support for wildlife and habitats.

In California, over 90% of the historic wetlands and 95% of the historic riparian areas no longer exist. Constructed levees now confine the rivers for irrigation and flood control, preventing the natural flooding of wetlands. Despite these changes, birds continue to fly their ancient migration routes along the Pacific Flyway and crowd into the remaining wintering habitat. The Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex, made up of Sacramento, Delevan, Colusa, and Sutter Refuges, and the Llano Seco Unit, is located in the Sacramento Valley. The Valley is the most important wintering site for waterfowl using the Pacific Flyway, attracting more than 2 million ducks and 750,000 geese. Surrounded by farmlands and flanked by the southern Cascade and northern Sierra Nevada and Coast Range, the permanent ponds and seasonal marshes of the Sacramento Refuges are a wetland wildlife oasis. This is especially important to the wintering migratory waterfowl, as they journey to their wintering grounds, in the Central Valley of California, by the millions. In the Southern Central Valley, Carrizo Plain is the state's largest remaining example of the once-vast grasslands that made up the San Joaquin Valley ecosystem. The Kern National Wildlife Refuge is the largest wetland area in the Southern San Joaquin Valley and plays a vital role in the Pacific Flyway for migrating waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds.

Participate or follow a year long photo contest in cooperation with Outdoor California, a publication of the California Dept. of Fish and Game.  Three monthly prizes will be awarded and a grand prize winner will be chosen from the monthly winners.  Images must be taken at a California Watchable Wildlife viewing site.