Extend retention of captured rainfall for migratory waterfowl and wading bird late winter habitat


When flooded to shallow depths during fall and winter, agricultural fields provide ideal foraging habitat for myriad species of waterfowl and wading birds. Harvested and idled agricultural lands, notably those occurring within rice rotations, contain high densities of residual (i.e., waste) grain and natural seeds following harvest. In addition, flooded conditions promote establishment of aquatic invertebrate populations, a protein-rich food source for shorebirds as well as waterfowl and wading birds. Flooded conditions across the broader landscape promote a network or continuity of habitat that is available to migratory waterfowl and wading birds. Benefits may become greatest during late winter and early spring as birds are assimilating nutrient and fat reserves in preparation for northward migration. However, agricultural fields flooded during fall-winter are typically drained during late January or February in advance of spring planting. This often results in a rapid reduction in available habitat and may constrain ability of migratory birds to adequately prepare for migration, with greatest impacts likely occurring during years of low winter precipitation. Retention of water on agricultural lands into early spring will produce maximum benefits to migratory waterfowl and shorebirds by providing high quality habitat during a time when habitat may otherwise be in low abundance. 

Additional NRCS practice information can be found here

CSP Deadlines can be found on the state websites:
Arkansas CSP
California CSP
Louisiana CSP
Mississippi CSP
Missouri CSP
Texas CSP

County NRCS Office

Website: https://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app