Coming and Going of our Spring Waterfowl
To the Editor:
From driving around the countryside within the past few weeks you’ve no doubt noticed the abundance of waterfowl. Personally, I’ve seen thousands of Canadian geese, snow geese, and ducks gathered in the puddles of crop fields and flying throughout the countryside. The snow melt combined with the frost dissipating has caused numerous puddles for waterfowl to occupy. It really is a beautiful sight to see wildlife using habitat.
Of course, in our area that will all soon disappear. When the temperatures warm up and the ground unfreezes the vast crop fields will start drying through subsurface drainage. All of those puddles in wide contour areas of crop fields will disappear. And of course, since those puddles are habitat for waterfowl, they will fly off to find a suitable living area elsewhere.
We know that subsurface drainage has been around for thousands of years. And the waterfowl have adapted to change. Now their main flyway is west of us in the Dakotas. However, this brings up several questions. Do we really need to drain so many acres of land? How much would the waterfowl population increase if we didn’t tile so much? What’s our motivation for tiling so much land?
Clearly there needs to be a balance between agriculture and conservation of wildlife. By exporting more than 20 percent of what we produce, having entire aisles in grocery stores with corn chips, high fructose corn syrup soda, and soybean oil based products, maybe we can scale back on our crop production and dedicate more to wildlife. It would be nice to enjoy seeing more waterfowl in our area.