California’s severe drought poses a major threat to migrating waterfowl. The Sacramento Valley winters up to 5 million ducks and geese annually in its mix of flooded rice fields, national and state refuges, and private duck clubs. The state’s water is carefully allocated, and this year the refuges will have 25 per cent less water than usual. Rice farmers will have lower allocations as well. In addition, “water decomp” a technique in which rice fields are flooded after the harvest to break down rice stalks, won’t be possible for most farmers this year due to lack of water. Instead, they will plow their crops under. Ordinarily, waterfowl feed and rest on the flooded rice fields, which provide several hundred thousand acres of habitat.