We pursue a positive environmental role by following sound farming practices that add vital wetlands to the San Joaquin Valley. Our rice fields vigorously support the local ecosystem by providing living, feeding, and breeding habitat for an amazing array of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. Dependent on available water, additional seasonal flooding of a portion of our wintering fields provides a supportive environment with post-harvest rice tailings for a variety of migratory waterfowl and shoreline birds.
We make our fields available for California State University research projects, bird population studies, and for local county agencies for mosquito control projects. Representatives from the Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy have visited our farm to discuss how to further incorporate rice farming with habitat enhancement.
During that aforementioned visit, one practice touched upon was “modified levees”. Typically, rice levees which hold back water for flooding are made with pointed tops. A modified levee is flattened on top, availing a surface area of 20-40″, suitable for nesting habitat for birds like avocets, killdeer, and black terns. The Audubon and Nature Conservancy folks were delighted to note that we had been creating modified levees all along.
Waterfowl: Mallards, Pintail, Cinnamon Teal, American Widgeon, Gadwall, Northern Shovelers, and Fulvous Whistling Ducks.
Other Birds: Great Blue Herons, Black-crowned Night Herons, Green Herons, American Bitterns, Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Cattle Egrets, American Coots, Common Moorhens, Pie-billed Grebes, Black-necked Stilts, Kildeer, American Avocets, Black Terns, White-faced Ibis, Long-billed Curlew, and Pheasants.
Aquatic: Mosquito Fish, Grass Carp, fingerling Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Catfish, and Crayfish.
Mammals: Coyotes, mink, weasels, opossum, skunks, raccoons, and an occasional, but very lonely and industrious beaver.
Reptiles and Amphibians: King Snakes, Gopher Snakes, and bullfrogs.
Waterfowl: Mallards, Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, American Widgeon, Gadwall, Northern Shovelers, Canvasbacks, Lesser Scaup, Canada Geese, Aleutian Canada Geese, Cackling Geese, White-fronted Geese, Ross’ Geese, Snow Geese.
Other Birds: Sandhill Cranes, Common Snipe, Red-winged Blackbirds, Tricolor Blackbirds, Brewer’s Blackbirds, Brown-headed Blackbirds.
Predatory Birds: Red-tailed Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks, American Kestrel, White-tailed Kites, Barn Owls, and Great Horned Owls.