Transcript for Wetlands Regained, segment 02 of 8


Ageless is the impulse that beckons birds, ducks, and geese home to this wintering ground near Los Banos, California. In the months ahead, these and other species will rely on marshes, sloughs, grasslands, and woodlands for rest and rejuvenation in preparation for their other ageless impulse - spring migration to northern breeding grounds.

In eighteen fifty, spectacular concentrations of waterfowl thrived in the Central Valley of California. The huge bowl between the coastal and Sierra Nevada Mountains formed immense wetland habitats and fertile lands. Before settlement, the valley sustained one of the richest, most diverse wildlife populations in North America. After settlement, water diversion and flood control projects turned the valley into the richest agricultural basin in North America. Lands that sheltered and nourished elk, deer, grizzlies, and birds now nourish people instead. Today only eight percent of the original wetlands remain. Of these remaining wetlands, only half are protected from conversion to other uses.