LEAD: A project using NASA/USGS satellite and citizen science has resulted in new pop-up wetlands for shorebirds.
1. An 11-year satellite database helps predict where surface water (ponds) is located through-out the year.
2. Ponds are needed for rest and food by the millions of shorebirds that migrate northward along the Pacific flyway each spring.
3. Matching the water availability with the number of birds arriving makes it possible for farmers to flood unused rice fields and provide temporary wetlands to aid birds precisely when the birds migrate.
TAG: The program, called Bird Returns, is a project of The Nature Conservancy and has produced over 20,000 acres of temporary wetlands in California in the last two years.