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CANOPY SAM

Sunday's story on waterfowl.

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WaveWacker

I believe the program that is being talked about in this topic is the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP). It is a program that provides technical assistance to landowners to restore, enhance, and protect wetlands. Landowners have the option of enrolling eligible lands through permanent easements, 30-year easements, or restoration cost-share agreements.

Permanent easement pays on the lowest of the following three options: agricultural value of teh land, an established payment cap, or an amount offered by the landowner. This is along with 100% payment for the cost of any restoration activities.

30 year easement pays 75% of the permanent along with 75% of the restoration costs.

For both of these all costs associated with recording the easement are payed for (not by landowner).

Restoration cost-share agreement is generally a 10 year min. agreement in which 75% of cost share for restoration activities is paid for. It does not place an easement on the land but landowner will not receive an easement payment.

Eligibility

Typically land must be owned for 12 months prior to enrolling it in the program, uless the land was inherited.

Land must be restorable and be suitable for wildlife benefits.

Here is a link that will explain more http://www.mn.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/wrp/index.html

If you have any other questions I would recommend contacting your local county NRCS/SWCD office.

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Mark Christianson

I would also recommend contacting your nearest USFWS office as well. We have gotten some significant work done by the USFWS, with no involvement from NRCS.

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Riverratpete

Sartell, See my other posts concerning this exact thing, one of the main reasons the birds aren't coming through is due to the poor water quality,ie. minnows vs bugs, if we can get the water quality back and quit draining every piece of water we may get back to some good hunting again.

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Sartell Angler

Yeah Pete...I missed reading a few of the posts on here.....but that is definitely one thing the DNR should have at the top of their agenda for improving ducky habitat....de-fish all those shallow bodies of water....I realize that it is expensive, but our hunting club has been discussing several other options besides just spraying chemicals. With the right size body of water, apparently you can go out there when there is ice on the pond / lake and pump water from the bottom of the lake out onto the ice (through a hole) and thus rid the lake of oxygen(which kills the fish). Another way is to stock a shallow lake infested with bullheads with small walleyes....according to an expert on the subject, the walleyes will eat the bullheads (or at least cut down on the population) but will not make it through the winter....i'm not sure how successful these unorthodox methods are, but I think they are at least better than doing nothing....just think if MN turned into the next ND....then we could put a bunch of restrictions on them as they tried to cross the border to hunt ducks....but that is a whole different issue....

S.A.

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Sartell Angler

hey how many people here are familiar with scud? I have several places that I hunt, and only a couple have these scud (insects / waterbug type things) that really provide good food for ducks... it just so happens that these little ponds with the scud and no fish in them are where I see the most ducks each year. In particular, there is a flooded pond that developed in the middle of an abandoned cow pasture that is teeming with these little critters and the bluebills actually flock here, even though it is a small body of water nearby a relatively small lake. I also know of a spot that is full of shrimp, and this also holds a lot of bluebills.....i think that the answer for our diver problems lie in the fact that there aren't nearly enough bodies of water with enough shrimp or scud in them. Just imagine if the mississippi river was stacked with scud in the shallow bays and such...maybe the divers and more of the puddle ducks would even bother to frequent the Ol' Miss a little more each fall.

S.A.

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WaveWacker

I wish doing all this stuff was just that easy and boom! We have pristine wetlands chuck full of ducks. Many people are thinking of correcting the problem at a lake/wetland level. The problem is much more widespread then that. It is at a Watershed level. Without improvements across our many watersheds we will not be able to correct our water quality problems in the long term.

What do I mean by watershed improvements? Well here are a few: Grassed buffer strip along ditches, lakes, wetlands etc., Nutrient management in our agricultural areas, Sediment and erosion control on developmental sights, etc. Many times there are fundings that will pay landowners to do these things.

Not that I'm against trying to fix things right now, but to compare wetland water quality in between MN and ND is like night and day.

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Sartell Angler

good point wave wacker

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Riverratpete

Good points by everyone, all very valid, now we need to just put some pressure on the powers that be to start implementing it, Sartell, I wonder if they couldn't pump the water out of those pieces of water to kill the fish rather than using chemicals? justa thought. I do like the walleye idea though, when they get bigger they can just use them for stocking then.

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WaveWacker

Reverse aeration is an option that has been used instead of a Rotenone treatment. However, quicker and more effective results (i.e. complete kill) are acheived with the chemical. This sort of chemical treatment was just performed on Lake Christina up by Evansville (use to be a Can Mecca!) and has been performed in the past.

After initial treatments (don't quote me but maybe 4-6 years ago) there was a improvement of water quality and some improvement with submerged aquatic plants. At that time there where no carp restriction on inlets/outlets. After this treatment fish barriers where installed to try to keep carp out of the lake. It will be interesting to see how the lake responds in the upcoming years. This still doesn't solve any of our runoff (sedimentation/nutrient loading) problems.

As far as the walleye to eat the bullheads as an option for wetland/marsh lake improvement...Carp are more of a concern then bullheads as they will stir the bottom up more. Walleyes won't wipe out a population of bullheads and I don't believe will hammper a carp population. This can be seen on a little lake near home that is a classic for stuck between a duck marsh and a fishing lake (typical waters frequented by divers).

There where walleyes stocked in about 4 years ago. This winter they where reaching the 12" category. In all the years there have been an average but abundant bullhead population of various age categories in the lake. The walleyes aren't as tolerant to low Oxygen levels in the winter as bullheads are.

To put pressure on the powers to get things done is more difficult that one would imagine due to many of the problems to our wetland areas lie on private lands. Not to beat a dead horse but once again there are programs and technical assistance available to start to fix these problems. What is needed is basically selling of them to private landowners and willing landowners to participate.

Unfortunately some (maybe most) individuals are driven by the dollars and cents and not by just what is good for the land. There could be a push to federal gov. to boost payment rates for some of these programs and or partnerships between local sportsman's groups, national sportmans groups with the programs to provide some sort of financial incentive to get people signed up.

Once again sorry for maybe shedding a pesimistic light on the subject. There are individuals out there (and an increasing number) that are enrolling into these programs. The efforts must continue though. If your really concerned spread the word around your hunting area, with neighbors, etc. to get an interest in some of these programs. Contact USFWS, SWCD, NRCS, DNR, Watershed district, offices with questions regarding programs. In most cases they are more then willing to come out and explain things in person on the land. Great subject and like I said earlier, I am thrilled to see the concern for our natural resources!!

[This message has been edited by WaveWacker (edited 02-26-2004).]

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CANOPY SAM

Sorry I was away for a couple of days. I was pleasantly surprised by the continuation of this discussion!

Thank you all for the information surrounding this topic. I sincerely hope I can get some of these agencies involved with our property in North Dakota.

I can't honestly say I don't understand the idea that water that supports the growth of larger vertebrates aren't good waterfowl production areas? For the most part, natural areas that see the evolution of greater biomass are exhibiting a healthy ecology. They may not be suitable for duck and goose nesting simply because they are too deep to offer quality nesting habitat. It is a known fact that Mallards, as well as most puddle ducks, don't "build" nests. They take advantage of existing shallow, thick cattail beds, or nearby grasslands. If there are large populations of mudhens in the area they will often chase off puddle ducks because of their aggressive nature.

I've frequently pondered the "mudhen" issue on our North Dakota land. There has been a litteral explosion of coots where we hunt, and I've wondered if their population increase hasn't affected nesting desirable species?

I need clarification of the comment regarding comparing ND water to MN water as well. Which is better? In my experience, albeit limited, I'd have to wonder what the criteria are for the comparison. Both waters undoubtedly have high levels of undesirable toxins such as pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Most of the potholes I've hunted in Minnesota have a much harder bottom content, and far less siltation present than ND potholes. In fact many of the ND potholes I currently hunt have become absolutley choked with submerged vegetation. I'm honestly not sure which is better for waterfowl.

What I do know for sure is that the numbers of ducks and geese we see during the ND waterfowl season are epic when compared to what I see almost daily in Minnesota.

This simple fact is only magnified when looking at the exponential increase in non-resident hunting licenses having been sold in North and South Dakota in the last five years alone. Very many people are aware of the Western movement of the Mississippi and Missouri river flyway waterfowl. I personnaly scoff at the North Dakota legislature for "limiting" the number of non-resident hunters in their state, but what am I to do. I have a place to hunt there.

I simply stand by my belief that the MN Dept. of Natural Resources needs to take a bit better care of the lands that they control. How many of you are aware of the total acreage the State of Minnesota owns North of State Highway #2 running West from Duluth to East Grand Forks. I can't even venture a guess, but I would suppose it's in the millions of square acres. Almost all of it is still in the same form it was 100 years ago - swamp! It's ripe for ducks, but we're not seeing the same numbers coming through.

When the Dakota and Canadian prairie potholes were dried up we saw a lot more birds follow the Mississippi flyway more directly. Now that the water has returned to much of these regions, so have the ducks. If there is any real beneficial discussion here, it's not how to keep the North Dakota fishermen out of our state, it's how to get the North and South Dakota land owners to allow more Minnesota hunters into their states .

I would sincerly doubt, despite my most earnest intentions, that much of our current man-made efforts have a noticeable impact on waterfowl populations overall. The waterfowl populations we see are affected by ecological changes on a Continental scale. The natural cyclic nature of weather patterns and the water cycle are what drives our populations of ducks and geese. It is my sincere belief that we can only make a ripple in the ocean of their natural environment.

It is truly unfortunate, however, that so many prime wetlands have been drained over the last 100 years for the sake of production. If these could somehow be replaced we would truly see a major change in the entire ecosystem of the central flyway.

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Riverratpete

The Star&Sickle had an article on this exact subject this morning. Dennis Andersons column.hhhmmmm

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fishface5

What do you guys think of the spring migration? Now as opposed to the past? It seems to me that I see just as many if not more divers now than I used to. In the fall I deffinatly see fewer.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Wanderer
      Yah, sometimes it’s hard to get info about city fishing when most of us try to get AWAY from the city! 😄   I read your post a few days ago and only thought of the river, Minnehaha Creek (both already mentioned) or the City Chain of Lakes. I used to trailer my bass boat to Calhoun or Bde Maka Ska and trolling motor the whole lake and sometimes into Lake of the Isles.  We always picked up nice bass on the weed lines and an occasional muskie.  My best bass was a 6-4 but we always caught at least one 5 lbs along with multiple 3’s and 4’s.  I never spent enough time on Harriet to figure it out.   The River can be fished in sections.  Just pick one.  Some of the harbor and island areas were always good for white bass and smallies.  Look for rip rap.  My favorite bait was a small bomber model A with clear sides and chrome middle to emulate the shad.  Occasionally I’d tie into some channel cats or even a stout flathead.
    • Salsballs93
      Although I appreciate the replies and any effort because I know it's good faith, they're not of much use. As originally posted, this is really looking to withIN Minneapolis / St Paul.
    • Wiley Coyote
    • Wanderer
      What part of the lake are they on?
    • BDR
      Thanks for the report Joe. I have spent a little time on leech this year with marginal results. Seems everytime I go its hot and calm.
    • LoonASea
      I moved to Iron River so dont get that way often     
    • Muskyhunter73
      Yeah, I was shocked. I figured we would catch some nice smallies and that would be worth it. 
    • Wiley Coyote
      Algae!   Ever since the zebra mussels have gotten into Whitefish the floating mats of algae have been a nuisance, but this year is terrible.  I hate that crap.  You can't troll without it getting all over your line and lure.  Not fun to swim in either!  My parents have even mentioned leaving the chain it bothers them so much.     Does anyone know if this is the blue-green algae that is toxic to dogs?   No chance I'll fish during the day this weekend, it's nuts out there right now.
    • StillFishin'
      Good to hear from you Mark.  Always liked your reports and glad your still posting when you get back to LV.   jim
    • Coloradokid55
      Headed to Brainerd Area July 9-11 coming from Colorado to visit friends. Well actually my girlfriend is I am tagging along to hopefully catch some fish with my flyrod And or jigs. Seeking advice on which lakes and tactics and anything else helpful to help maximize fishing  time in your state. I will have access to a canoe on Hubert Lake. Any and all advice would be much appreciated if anyone is into flyfishing Stillwater and would like to go or show me some pointers on your home waters That would be awesome thanks looking forward to any responses.
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