Listed as California Threatened Species. Much (70-90%) of the current population nests in colonies along the Sacramento and Feather Rivers. The population of Bank Swallows has been monitored by counting burrows along the river. The number of burrows on the Sacramento River has trended downward from 24,580 burrows in 1986 to 15,000 burrows in 2012. Burrow numbers on the Feather River have also declined, from almost 6,600 in 1987 to 2,320 in 2012.
Nest on banks and bluffs in areas along rivers, lakes, and oceans. Along the Sacramento and Feather Rivers, most colonies are located on eroding river banks. Thus, the presence of this species is an indicator of the healthy riparian ecosystem that results from a river’s lateral movement within the floodplain.
Cause of decline:
The decline of the Bank Swallow population in California coincides with the increase of rock revetment placed on the banks of the Sacramento River to prevent the river’s lateral movement. Nesting Bank Swallows have also been affected by the installation of dams that have changed the amount and timing of flows in the river.
Current primary threats:
Despite the listing and subsequent adoption of the Recovery Plan, the Bank Swallow population on the Sacramento River has continued to decline and remains vulnerable to ongoing bank stabilization and flood control projects.
What we’re doing about it:
Point Blue Conservation Science works to protect Bank Swallows through the The Bank Swallow Technical Advisory Committee. This committee is a diverse coalition of State and federal agency and non-governmental organization personnel. Their mission is to promote collaborative long-term conservation and recovery of the Bank Swallow along the Sacramento River, its tributaries, and other areas throughout California by coordinating and supporting monitoring and research, habitat restoration and management, and outreach and education.
How you can help:
Support river restoration that will protect and restore natural river processes that contribute to the ecosystem services that our rivers provide: nutrient transport, fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, and flood protection.
Stewardship of the Bank Swallow is one step toward managing our floodplains and rivers in a way that provides benefits for people and wildlife.