Top stories for Aug. 18, 2009
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Wild rice fueling the migration
Though a smaller crop will be harvested, wild rice in Minnesota will again help fuel migrating birds heading south this fall and winter. Wild rice is common in the shallow lakes and ponds touched by DU's Living Lakes initiative in Minnesota and Iowa.
"Many stands of rice appear to have shorter stalks with fewer seeds, and dense stands of harvestable rice will be more widely distributed this year," said Rod Ustipak, contract coordinator for DU's cooperative wild rice lake management program with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). "However, the rice crop yield could improve for harvesters if we experience ideal rice ripening weather in the next few weeks. The consensus is there will still be abundant 'duck rice' out there this fall in many lakes."
Improved duck migration habitat is one of the main purposes of the annual wild rice lake management program cooperatively conducted by Ducks Unlimited and the Minnesota DNR. The program keeps wild rice lake outlets free flowing and clear of debris such as beaver dams, which helps minimize water-level fluctuations on wild rice plants during critical spring growing periods.
For more information about wild rice and DU's Living Lakes initiative, go to www.ducks.org/livinglakes.
New resources to promote clean water
Clean water is critical to people and ducks. Without clean water in wetlands across the country, quality duck habitats would be few and far between, and our drinking and irrigation water would be in peril.
With that in mind, Ducks Unlimited has added a section to the Clean Water Action Center – a Resources page you can use to easily find dozens of documents and fact sheets about clean water. There are state-specific fact sheets for many states, as well as text of the legislation and letters from groups representing farmers and ranchers, some of the biggest stakeholders in the clean water discussion.
Once you've read the Sample letters can be found here.
You also can make your case in person to your members of Congress at town hall meetings, county fairs and other community events they may be attending between now and Labor Day.
To get more information on your members of Congress, please visit www.house.gov, www.senate.gov or call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121.
USDA focusing on waterfowl breeding habitat
The USDA's Farm Service Agency is underscoring its commitment to waterfowl habitat conservation by renewing "priority-area" designations for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for an additional five years.
The designation means that landowners in those watersheds looking to enroll in the popular CRP will be given special consideration over other applicants.
CRP has been a huge success for waterfowl in its more-than-20-year history. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates more than 2.2 million birds are added to the fall flight every year thanks to CRP lands in the Prairie Pothole Region alone.
Read the report and learn more about DU's other agricultural conservation efforts at www.ducks.org/farmbill.