Here’s how rice farmers prevent flooding and help wildlife

The Sacramento Bee –

Last winter’s heavy rains were a welcome relief for Central Valley farmers after years of drought. But the high water that came with them also made it clear that we must upgrade the flood control system designed to protect people, farms and cities from catastrophic flooding.

Watching hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria from afar, Californians may not realize that our own Central Valley is at high risk of this type of flooding, especially as extreme weather events are becoming more common.

Fortunately, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board recently updated its plan to improve protection for farmers and city dwellers alike. It will also help revive flagging salmon runs and support other struggling native species.

As farmers, we are often on the front lines of California’s water challenges. We understand the benefits of wildlife-friendly agriculture. Rice farmers, especially, have taken the lead in finding ways to use limited water supplies to sustain farms while simultaneously benefiting birds, fish and other wildlife.

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