Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: California
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Duffy, W.G., Kahara, S.N. and Records, R.M., eds., 2011, Conservation Effects Assessment Project-Wetlands assessment in California's Central Valley and Upper Klamath River Basin: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1290, 128 p.


The Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) is one of several programs implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Since the WRP's inception in 1990, it has resulted in the restoration of approximately 29,000 hectares in California's Central Valley (CCV) and roughly 12,300 hectares in Oregon's Upper Klamath River Basin (UKRB). Both the CCV and UKRB are agricultural dominated landscapes that have experienced extensive wetland losses and hydrological alteration. Restored habitats in the CCV and UKRB are thought to provide a variety of ecosystem services, but little is known about the actual benefits afforded. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) California Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit in collaboration with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service surveyed 70 WRP sites and 12 National Wildlife Refuge sites in the CCV, and 11 sites in the UKRB to estimate ecosystem services provided. In the CCV, sites were selected along three primary gradients: (1) restoration age, (2) management intensity, and (3) latitude (climate). Sites in the UKRB were assessed along restoration age and management intensity gradients where possible. The management intensity gradient included information about the type and frequency of conservation practices applied at each site, which was then ranked into three categories that differentiated sites primarily along a hydrological gradient. Information collected was used to estimate the following ecosystem services: Soil and vegetation nutrient content, soil loss reduction, floodwater storage as well as avian, amphibian, fish and pollinator use and habitat availability. Prior to this study, very little was known about WRP habitat morphology in the CCV and UKRB. Therefore in this study, we described these habitats and related them to ecosystem services provided. Our results indicate that although WRP in the CCV and UKRB provide a number of benefits, there may be management mediated trade-offs among ecosystem services. In this report, we considered ecosystem services at the site-specific scale; however, future work will extend to include effects of WRP relative to surrounding cropland.