As Californians look to the sky, fingers crossed for a wet winter, three brutally dry years are harming millions of animals that depend on rivers, streams and wetlands for survival.
They range from salmon and snakes, to birds that migrate from as far away as the Arctic.
For untold millions of migrating ducks and geese, California wetlands serve as a crucial rest stop along a kind of freeway known as the Pacific Flyway. Dave Shuford, senior biologist for Point Blue Conservation Science, says irrigated farmlands are also crucial.
?We?ve lost 90 percent of all the wetlands in California,? Shuford says, ?and these birds used to depend on that.?
In places like the Sacramento Valley, rice farmers would normally flood their fields after the harvest to break down leftover stalks. But this year, both farmers and birds have been forced to deal with less.
Read more here: KQED Science, November 10, 2014