Mainstreet Radio: Minnesota's Vanishing Wetlands, part 1

Programs | Midday | Topics | Environment | Types | Reports | Types | Interviews | Types | Call-In | Grants | Legacy Amendment Digitization (2018-2019) | Topics | Science | Programs | Mainstreet Radio |
Listen: 99543.wav

A Mainstreet Radio special broadcast from the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls. Program highlights the wetlands and waterfowl. Rachel Reabe interviews Tim Bodeen, Director of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center; Kevin Brennan, member of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife; and Dr. Jay Leitch, economist at North Dakota State University. They discuss Minnesota's vanishing wetlands, actions being taken to protect them, and educating the public about the wetlands. Bodeen, Brennan and Leitch also answer listener questions.

Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.

NPR's Main Street radio coverage of Royal issues is supported by the blandin foundation committed to strengthening communities through grant-making leadership training and convening. We invite you to visit the Main Street website go to where you can hear today's program at your convenience as well as other Main Street reports. The address again is morning, and welcome to a special Main Street radio show on wetlands and waterfowl. I'm Rachel reabe. We're broadcasting today from the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls. This is the Prairie pothole region of Minnesota. A blend of grass is in Wetlands that provide a rich breeding ground for waterfowl almost all of Minnesota's native Prairie has been destroyed along with 80% of the wetlands Cloud over and filled in turned into farmland or towns in the past 30 years. There's been an effort to protect what wetlands are left and restore others Tim boddie in the director of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center is with me this morning. Good morning Tim and we have a beautiful day for this show set the scene for our listeners only passed in in the distance. You see the the rust color of the Native prairie grasses blowing in the wind with a beautiful Wetland right next to the building here with a Cat Tales waving in the wind and some ducks and geese in the air.This is a big place this time of year because of all the ducks that are migrating overhead. We have a microphone outside. So when you hear those bird sounds you'll know that we're just picking up what's here. We have a lot of songbirds coming through right now headed south and we also have a lot of waterfall moving down from the north you again so many ducks and geese flying overhead trailer. We have 325 acres and is it a mixture of Prairie and wetlands plants have all been restored to their progress prayer?This is a very unique environmental Learning Center on a number of different fronts. As far as Minnesota goes. It's the first that deals with wetlands and Prairie in Minnesota. And then I'm on the US fish and wildlife service end of it. It's the first in the nation actually to have to have a residential center for the fish and wildlife service. Stay here. Correct. We have capacity for about Ninety Six students. We have we have 12 dorm rooms with eight kids to a room and they will come typically for a two and a half days to a half day stage. What about praising Wetlands now in Minnesota when we talk about environmental Learning Centers are mine kind of goes instantly to the forest into the Trees of northern Minnesota because that's where a lot of our Learning Centers are this is a whole different habitats here. We are truly unique in the fact that we are in the end of pretty much for a region where trees are very few and far between we're trying to restore the habitat here to what it look like before settlement which was particularly treeless. And so when the students, it's very open, it's very wide and they they do have cuz it seems like our culture here likes to beacation in the trees and not come out to the Wide Open Spaces. Prairie and wetlands appreciation is that an acquired taste for novice can be very frustrating cuz it looks like miles and miles of grass in the same. But if you can take time and learn what's out there truly an amazing ecosystem with over 300 plants and many species are attached to it in an underground. There's billions of billions of bacteria and fungus going on to enhance. The Prairie was here originally when you got the land and some of it you have worked on right? We have Sixteen Acres of native Prairie here. Now we have to basically it's broken up into small pieces about a 15-acre peace in the South End of us and we have a small one acre piece. That's that's on a slope going into a wet. And then the remaining Acres have all been restored back to prairie grasses from The Weave Harvest Edition lawn service is Harvest harvested locally operation West Otter Tail County and Wilkin County. If people haven't heard of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center, would it be surprising cuz you really just opened up and we have Randall kid on the Block. 7000 school children are going to come through this property in the next year. What are you hoping that they learn? Our hope is that they carry away an appreciation for wetlands and Prairie that through our educational programs here. We can create an awareness within them about the values of prairies and wetlands and they're aware of this will lead them Sunday to good environmental decisions for the landscape. And is that a big jump for kids even kids from 4? I know a lot about it and that that's you know, it's what it's in your backyard. You don't pay much attention to it and what happens now with these kids come out and date. They learn to appreciate it. The investigated the experiences. We've created hundreds of jr. Biologists talking Wetland biologist because of our working with the children out here. But it's not just for school children know we cater to three groups actually are no visitor center hat will have exhibit tree that will cater to adult visitors at rail system for walking for anybody to come out in the experience of sight as well as informal education programs for Force to school children. Summer camps overnight stays for the dormitory kids. So basically taking the whole community. And how was it? It's been wonderful. We have been basically going through since our grand opening in August. We since school started we go through about 5 her kids A week, which is incredible. And then on top of that we have approximately two hundred visitors that come through here in a week just to walk the trails look at the new building stuff like that. We have had local but we had a tremendous article written by the Star Tribune on the center and that has brought us many Twin City visitors, which has been wonderful. So this isn't a new setting to them as well. Exactly. They have really appreciated their love to come out here walk the trail. We have lots of questions about what they're seeing. What what what kind of animals are here. How do we restore things how to restore Wetlands how to restore Prairie so they have lots of good questions when the school kids come out here. There are a number of different lessons that their teachers are trying to teach them. What are some of them what it what are some of the things you're teaching kids from here will basically our landscape kind of drives what we're trying to teach. So we look at Verizon Wetlands that can lead into history history ideas that can lead into communication but a lot of it is science proven. We learn about what what different Prairie species are as far as plants. What what lives in a wetland? What do young ducks eat all those kind of questions are answered. And you have a classroom setting here as well as out in the field so that they can do some of their work outside but yet bring their stuff inside to finish up and maybe I can look at that if they have to use a microscope for that. They can come inside the building and finish that part of their project. We talked about in our opening the thirty years ago Wetlands were just something to be filled up. The center would never have happened then probably not but there's been there's been within the Fergus Falls Community. There's been some great forward-thinking people who saw the value of wetlands for permitting different reasons and have worked hard to educate the public locally here about how important ones are to us, not only agriculturally, but maybe a culturally aesthetically hunting lies, whatever. Are phone lines are open for you to join in? Today, our number here is one 805-3752. 52 if you have a question or comment join our show today the group of six grade science students from Fergus Falls Middle School is out in the field of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center today, Main Street radios. Dan Gunderson is with them and their teacher. Good morning Dan tell us what your group is up to and they're all collecting. Tell me what is the value of a defeated out here in the middle of a most likely the surrounding area of the outdoor learning about microorganisms in class as much fun. We're having a great time here on the dock is a funny all sorts of macroinvertebrates as well as microorganism and the whole time in the classroom, but probably would be a little contest and if you look down his dock every single one of the student has a jar that they're collecting samples that they're going to study and then they have a net and every one of them is on tap. The lot easier for all of us to try to get them to your three or four times during the school year and this year. We're going to try something a little different. looking for microorganisms and population and adaptations in diaper city of Let's see what these guys are coming up with Thursday. How about you? What are you planning? What do you think of coming out here at the lot of fun working on the big in the classroom No Doubt. Thank you so much, Dan. Our phone lines are open for your questions and comments are show today on wetlands and waterfowl. You can call one 800-537-5252 to join our conversation. Good morning, Dave from Mankato is on the line with us today. Good morning. I just wanted to check to see whether or not the facilities were available for seniors. Amy and I mean seniors at the other end of the spectrum than High School. I understand. He was there Spartan kinds of facilities, but could for instants a group of seniors come in for 2 or 3 days and do the same process. Talk about that Tim has there been any thought to I know in in some of your literature you talked about learning experience from pre-kindergarten to PhD, so you've obviously got a wide variety of curriculum that can be taught here. Are there any plans yet for classes for older adults are what are we doing for the for the wilderpeople? Are we going to have Elder hostels or even like Days ideas actually bringing him in that run into the same system that we run the kids through and that's a very good that's a very good thing. We should start looking at for that group of people that something you'd be interested in. And I don't know how to think I had the group that might be interested in it. How do I pursue it? What if you can contact us at where is area code 218-736-0938 number here and you can contact us we can talk talk about it. Look at possibilities that dormitory it's not that Spartan. You would love it here as my guest. We've been joined by Kevin Brennan with the US fish and wildlife service in the Fergus Airy. We're also being joined by dr. Jay Leach and Economist at North Dakota State University. Who's in our Saint Paul Studio. Good morning. Gentleman has been devoted in recent years to preserving and restoring Wetlands. Mr. Bread. And why are they so valuable from your point of view? Well, Working for the fish and wildlife service the value of wetlands and Wildlife and specifically waterfall during the Prairie pothole region the wetlands provide breeding habitat for just a myriad of ducks and geese so that's why the service has an interest I think for the general public the interest reaches Beyond wildlife and waterfall and goes into areas such as groundwater recharge Wetlands do provide that benefit for everyone flood control Wetlands do store water in during a flood events. They retain the water. They also increase The quality of water that we drink either in are out of our streams are even the groundwater. So they're up there benefits outside waterfall. What years has been a gradual process? I think the economy this part of the world is driven by agriculture. But as we have more people moving to this part of the world, we find it. Yeah, we do it we do recognize these other benefits. I think also we're finding this out. We're finding out what Wetlands values are what the functions they serve out there in the landscape. We've learned this as time goes. Yes doctor leeches and Economist. What's your opinion? Good morning Rachel. I believe we have value in much what I've written in much of my career in the last 20 plus years has been devoted to better understanding of the value of wetlands that question I have is that there are many other components of the landscape and many other uses of resources that Society can make that also have value so we can't stop the discussion by saying wetlands have value. Question then becomes how much value do they have compared to other uses of the resources? And which one should we use? And which should we develop for society? Yes, I think it has I think there's a tremendous bandwagon that has swung toward wetlands are infinitely valuable and they all ought to be preserved and we ought to restore many of those that have been drained or converted to other uses and until we know more about the values of wetlands again compared to other uses of society's resources. I think it's premature to say we got to start restoring more of what we have a converted. Timber dinner in the education business. How do you respond to that? Well, I think I look at it from Kevin's perspective. Pretty much looks of the fishing Wallace oversized and that wetlands are so important for migratory waterfowl and also other migratory birds that use Wetlands also and I look at some of the species that are declining because of these habitats that are disappearing and that's where my my my feelings come from this we need to save some of these habitats preserve these preserves Wildlife that needs a for this morning One 800-537-5252. You can call us at that number one 800-537-5252 and join the conversation. We have Troy on the phone with us from finding. Good morning Troy and it's been working very well that holds water to Spring provides nephew and a habitat through the nesting season and like in the past two summers has been very dry later on. She drives up and provides extra grass a cure for the range cattle. And so it's been a system that's worked quite well at you haven't taken away anything from the value of your rangeland. You don't think the grass and that's where the Grass Grows really well and he's protected waterways and there you have brass for later and later in the summer. In Troy if the US fish and wildlife had not come in and offer the assistance. Would you have gone ahead and done it yourself? Or was it really dependent on their involvement? Probably not. I do enjoy the wetlands but to go ahead and add the cost of restructuring the sand and I'll settle and aside for it. I probably want to die. But it's been a great benefit for the wildlife in our area. Thank you for your call this morning. We're going now over to Brainerd where Mary is on the phone with us. Good morning, Mary. Yes, go ahead with your question man. I'm on my way up to Brainerd from the Twin Cities and I have probably a naive question about how you define or how you find out something is a native prairie. Grass. Is it through studying former land use or land use maps or is there a scientific determination of native prairie grasses as against other kinds of prairie grasses? That's a good question Kevin. How do we know what was original and what was its native Prairie is very unique and in all honesty Mary at it almost takes a biologist to go out and look at a parcel of property and exam of the species composition out there to determine whether it's truly native never been broken by a plow or a disc or if it's not and there are certain species of plants and insects that just simply will not survive in ground. It's been cultivated even one or two years and so a good plant biologist or plant biologist normally can look at a parcel property in and especially during June of the year in and look at it to see is his native prayer isn't you also asked what is a native plant in there are many plant species that are truly native to this area that have been harvested in Seated on other locations. And that's some of what we've done here at the Learning Center is to reseed the Too many of the native plants, but you truly cannot replicate native Prairie unbroken us odd, that that's to this date we have been able to do that. If we were to walk out on the property here and you have acres and Acres of prairie, but only eighteen Acres of original Prairie would we be able to tell the difference looking at it species composition you'll find things like LED plant which disappears quickly after cultivation and like the purple coneflower whichever is familiar with that's one another species at to call to Vacation. It's got these long beautiful tablets at once. They're cut off. That's it so that they disappear quite quickly. So that's certain indicator species that we look at when you look at a piece of property. So we so you can definitely tell the difference here when you look at the two pieces. We have a question from White Bear Lake Michael is on the phone with us this morning. Good morning, Michael Symon activist with the Izaak Walton League and I would like your guest to address the effect of a wetland restoration on the on the flood in Grand Forks a couple years ago and doubt hand and flew held back an awful lot of water during that during that event and I would also like to point out to the to the gentleman and then have him comment on the fact that Wetland destruction in the western part of our state has led to a tremendous expanse of Agriculture and they're having a problem getting a price mainly because of overproduction perhaps if we restored some of these wetlands are farmers would be able to get a decent price for their crop and I'll hang up and listen to the comments. Thank you very much. What part did they play in the big flood here while the 1997 flood we're looking at it and I'm not a hydrologist Rachel but it was a major event. I mean, I've heard the figure thrown around 500 year event and I have to be honest. I think that flood was going to happen no matter what and that includes whether we restored all the wetlands or whether we had a lot of fun control structures. That was just simply so much water coming down the Red River Valley was going to be very difficult to stop the flood the house of beer. The flood would be I don't know that maybe an unknown question to the person in Grand Forks who's first floor was flooded by 1 inch of water. Maybe some light 1 Restorations or water retention in the in the River Basin would make a big difference because one inch of water that may have been possible to be held back, but do we have proven instance where where are wetlands did help maybe not in that huge flood but another floods or is that just a hypothetical are there are specific examples have Wellington have been restored on smaller watersheds where they have helped and I've had Farmers come to me and say you basically saved us from getting more water this year because of your Wetland Restoration in that location saw it. It does happen. I think there needs to be more learned about it. That's probably the the the big issue here is we need to understand the role of wetlands more in providing flood control. Just how important are they are. They to Wetlands as a flood control mechanism in Fergus is I'm a member of the international Joint Commission task force on the flood of 97 and it has received a lot of attention, of course the role of wetlands my what we currently have a study. Underway at NDSU involving engineer's and GIS experts looking at the role and there's another study about to get underway by the USGS fish and wildlife in DNR to look at the role. So there's a lot of speculation out there my my hypothesis and I think it's supported with that was some evidence is that during the Spring of 97? The ground was saturated. Most Wetlands were full following a very wet here and a full Wetland has Noah flood prevention possibilities. In fact in the I think it was 1826. There was a more severe flood than the flood of 1997. So Wetlands would would have had ended have very little impact on such a large flood the smaller than the cup of swole. Yes. You may have seen me on TV a year ago pouring water into a full cup and it just runs over. Let's move on to the second part of his question, which is if if the wetlands are turned into Farmland now, we have a farm economy where there's overproduction any comments on that. Dr. Leach work with a bunch of egg Economist and I don't know why certainly any land you take out a production means maybe that much less fewer bushels of wheat produced but I don't know if Society wants to pay that much to take land out of production in the form of restoring wetlands are other ways to do it CRP for example took several million acres of land out of production at a cost far less than the cost of restoring wetlands. You're listening to a special Main Street radio broadcast from the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls. Mpr's Main Street radio coverage of Royal issues is supported by the blandin foundation committed to strengthening communities through grant-making leadership training and convening. Today's Minnesota weather forecast calls for Skies to clear off across Minnesota. You can expect high temperatures in the fifties tonight. Mostly clear skies with temperatures ranging from 35 to 45 degrees and for tomorrow partly to mostly sunny skies across Minnesota eyes from the mid-fifties in the Northeast to the upper 60s in the southwest and Rachel reabe. We're continuing our discussion on Wetlands during this live broadcast from Fergus Falls. My guests are Jay Leach and Economist with North Dakota State University. He's in our Saint Paul studio with us here in Fergus Falls is Kevin Brennan from the US fish and wildlife service in Fergus Falls and Tim Boudin with the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center. Our phone lines are open for your calls today. You can call us at one 800-537-5252. Charles is on the phone with us from New London. Good morning Charles as the fact that Wetlands contribute to this hydrologic cycle as one of the main factors for conserving Wetlands. It's my understanding that through transpiration and evaporation an area such as Wetlands which has which have a good deal appliance contribute to more than open water through the hydrologic cycle. And I'd like to have that presented until possibly their the opinion on that all wetlands have plants in and they transpire in the water is Porter Vapors put into the air and Corset creates raining and I think the majority of our Reigns in this part of the region end and I'm not a meteorologist but I think the majority of moisture comes from the Gulf of Mexico on the last I think when you talk hydrologic cycle, you're also talking about water that filters into the groundwater and that that's very important to us. I think a lot of us were residents depend on our wells and we use that for domestic use and the water has to be there. I mean, we almost take it for granted and that contribution of wetlands to The public in general. I think it's very important. It is part of the hydrologic cycle hydrologist either but I think some early research by Engineers has shown that there is more groundwater recharge from Summer fallow or crop land in there is from Wetland. The reason it's a wetland is because the the underlying soil is impervious, but we've we've got both ruined discharge and all different kinds of wetlands was a very complicated story that I don't think can be answered simply especially by an economist admitted you mentioned in the previous response. You talked about CRP, would you explain for listeners what that is briefly Reserve program, which was initiated in the box of middle-aged to take land that was highly erodible and put it into some form of permanent cover vegetative cover for a 10-year. Landowners were In a mountain annual amount about equivalent to what they would receive in rent from putting their land into CRP and I don't remember the numbers but in North Dakota, there were about 2 million Acres taken out of crop production and put into the conservation Reserve program. Thank you to Ely Minnesota where Joshua is standing by on the phone. Good morning Joshua. Good morning at my dad just recently built a house and instead of having a nice green groomed on he kind of wanted to play around with some prairie grass restoration. Where can we get information about that? Oggi's the sources for Prairie restoration, there's hundreds of different sources, you can go to to particular companies in Minnesota that I know of that work with this is one is called Prairie restoration out of Princeton Minnesota. And then I also the other one in in Minnesota that I'm aware of is Prairie Moon which is out of Houston Minnesota down there. So contact any of those guys can definitely help you out to tell you what you need to do for your first site preparation as well as a seed that you want to put in the ground. Thanks so much for your question we go to River Falls, Wisconsin. Now Bob is on the phone with us. Good morning Bob. I was wondering if your guests could comment on how they may work into their interpretational programs the prospects of climate change and global warming, which is I understand it will be extending the Prairie well into the forest areas of Minnesota and Wisconsin and likely have some drying effects on the potholes in the light that we are now accustomed to Across the Prairies. Thank you. We are here at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center. We probably deal with more specific issues on the on the Prairie landscape specifically white lines in the plant. That's a real broad subject area. I will say this the efficient Wildlife service in our sister agency USGS are doing studies on a much broader basis to look at some of the issues of global warming buddy here at the center. We would take the results of This research and obviously present it to the students or the general public coming through in a much more General way, but it's it's something I think that is being looked at more right now than we can really teach a lot about Kevin Brennan have a Wetlands. Do we need do you have a mark on a wall someplace in your us fish and wildlife office that if we can get to hear will be satisfied while there are goals for wetland restoration as well as Wetland protection in the prairie pothole region of the United States In The End by the service to try and maintain the waterfall populations that we are charged to take care of and are we in good shape now? Well right now I believe here in Minnesota. We have reached about the 60% of the goal of the wetlands the fish and wildlife service wishes to protect so we still have a ways to go and I think you'll find that number bearing across the Prairie pothole region. It's probably very close in South Dakota little less in North Dakota. So those those are our goals in there it takes time. You have to realize that This part of the world was settled back in the 1870s began drainage it had time. And here we are now. It's only been in the last 10 or 15 years Restorations are occurring and in 30 years. We've done been doing that protection. So it's going to take some time to reach the goals. Were we want to be one of your papers that when the question is asked how many Wetlands do we need? You said the politically correct answer seems to be all that we have and more would respond to that. I've been asking for many years to the Wetland proponents is how many more and it keeps the answer is more and I would say for any normal good more is always better but there comes a time when you've had enough movies and enough shirts in enough cars and enough Wetlands were the next dollar you spend or the next resource you allocate should be for something else. So Moore's is not a very good answer and I just like to point. The other two guests Tim and Kevin both work for agencies whose mission it is to protect preserve Wetlands. It's their job and I respect them for that. That's not my mission. My mission is I make a welfare Economist is to look out for the well-being of society across all areas not just environmental areas. So you would expect someone who works for an agency with a mission to protect Wetlands to be in favor of more Wetlands is your concern that money is being spent on Wetland preservation restoration that perhaps should be spent someplace else. My concern is we don't know if we're spending money on Wetlands that should we spend somewhere else because we don't know the value of those Wetlands. I heard recently of a wetland restoration project in the Twin Cities area where over $700,000 was spent for 1 acre. I would suggest that there might be many other ways that the taxpayers in Minnesota and I think that was for a highway project. Could spend tax dollars then $700,000 for one acre of wetland. doctor leeches 1998 I think it's pretty lonely place or an awful lot of people who are biologists ecologists who have studied wetlands and appreciate the values of wetlands. And I respect them for that. There aren't many folks who stick their necks out as Economist and ask these kinds of questions because it isn't very popular. So yes, I think it's a lonely place. Are phone lines are open today? The numbers one 800-537-5252. If you would like to join our conversation in the last decade more than 35,000 Acres of wetlands have been restored in Minnesota through a US fish and wildlife program that works with private landowners. Jon Lindquist is a Dairy Farmer in the Fergus Falls area. He's on the phone with us this morning. Good morning. Mr. Lin kuei good morning for the US fish and wildlife service and a local Sportsman's Club to turn some of your 200 Acres back to Wetlands. Why interested in seeing Wildlife I enjoy life and it was an area that was very difficult to farm. So decided at that point to turn it back into the wetlands. It was like about a 10-acre area that I turned back in with the help with our local Sportsman's Club has been very active in that and that The start of it about 10-12 years ago and then we've moved on to this summer. I contacted fish and wildlife cuz we had a couple of small areas here that a real gun wasn't farmable that we turned into an area that could hold a little bit more drainage and for the wild life in general. Back to Wetlands. Yeah, it was basically was dammed up there at the one area that we turn back the summer was part of a pastor of mine and it was for my a young stock and we used that area for a part of one and then we use on the other side of the wetlands at the Sportsman's Club and I had restored is a very big area is probably under an acre that second parcel. But again, it wasn't really doing a whole lot of anything I wasn't able to farm it wasn't able to do anything with it. So we restored that to Wetlands And how's it been successful? I know the US fish and wildlife restoration has just taken place in the last month or so, but the one that you did a number of years ago, have you been able to tell that we have some Willows growing up in there? So it becomes habitat not only for waterfowl but it's also on the edges dear pheasants, which we raise pheasants and deer and ducks and release with the Sportsman's Club. And then we had some areas out there we dug a little bit so we could retain water in that area and the wood ducks in the mallards and there are just doing wonderful and we do not hunt that area as far as the waterfall we leave that has a kind of a sanctuary for them. So for people who are listening to your Jonathan, well, this is just a private shooting preserve for you. You're saying no, that's not the way we do not like the waterfall in that area is left alone. And we put up a mallard Nest so they can Nest properly wood duck nest so they can have a better chance of nesting and improving their habitats. It's really fun to go down there and just watch all the wildlife that's occurring in there. Jon Lindquist, thanks for joining us on the phone this morning. You don't have to pick you don't have to have just farmland or just wildlife habitat that they can be compatible. Are we seeing more and more people come around to that point of view just we are Rachel I think appreciation for the value of runs in an inning a John's case. He has the ability to look at this and watch the wildlife see the muskrats see the waterfall fly in and out and it's an aesthetic value. And how do you how do you what dollar amount you put on that, you know an end for him. It's it's it's very valuable and he's willing to restore an area in his pasture land to have that in. We do work with lot of private landowners and What are the value of wetlands I think in many ways society determines that and we have Sportsmen's groups a lot of them locally the Evansville Sportsman's Club the fishing for catfish game club who provide funds to us assist us in these Wetland restoration and they're focusing on the value is groups. And in the landowners were doing this see the value of them. So they're important to those people for variety reason see the day that they enjoy life. They like to hunt maybe they want water retained in a lot of the Wetland restoration is essentially paid through users fees isn't it with duck stamp money all of the land that the fish and wildlife service purchases in Minnesota is paid for with duck stamp dollars. And of course those dollars are generally bought or come from Huntersville by the stamp is necessary for for honey, but there is a large amount of money that do come from nonprofit groups weather local Sportsman's organizations Ducks Unlimited. Are pheasants forever a variety of groups around the State Minnesota waterfowl Association that are partnered with the fish and wildlife service to do well and Restorations. And as a matter fact, maybe even though we we do find even though some of the Watershed District down around the city's who are charged with water management or cooperating with the service and restoration as well as Soil and Water Conservation districts were almost political subdivisions of the state. Does that make it less painful for you? If you know the duck stamp money is in part going to Restoration sound like that that money could be going to curing cancer or something like that. Does that make it easier to stomach private individual landowners wanting Wetlands wet lands myself and my home is not very far from where you are there in Fergus Falls Ducks Unlimited Sportsman's Club. That's terrific. That's the market working. One thing that I've been thinking about that really bothers me that that we've been Maybe Perpetuating a bit this morning. He is what I've referred to elsewhere as the bait-and-switch technique. We we show pictures to Society of wetlands with Cattails and ducks and frogs and and we listen to geese calling in the distance and one of the the speakers this morning's at all wetlands have plants but then when when we Implement legislation to protect wetlands and someone goes home and wants to build a garage in their backyard that gently slopes down to a a ditch only to realize that that dry land is in fact a wetland. So on the one hand we we like Wetlands The Cattails the kind that you can see in Fergus are but on the other hand the law that protects wetlands and if people have to spend thousands of dollars replacing protects things that most normal citizens wouldn't in their farthest imagination think we're wetlands We have Mark on the phone with us from St.Paul this morning. Good morning, Mark. Number one. I think it's dr. Leach you mention the fact that the cropland has more hydrological value than wetlands and I've always understood if you drained wetlands and use it for cropland you the the wetlands beneath it still there. So they hydrological know the far-field hydrological effects going to be affected number to the, you may just concerning about the the wetlands that people generally don't feel as Wetlands. I think there's some Times classified as type to Wetland are very much the most disappearing type of wetlands in Minnesota because they don't because you're not viewed as white lines in your easiest to turn over to cropland the sent. Those are some of the more valuable and I would think we wouldn't miss Mislead, people are listening and rely on the people are paying to determine what gives the most benefit to you know to the the nature that we're trying to protect number three. I just would like to hear the comments of various people on Min. View on a lot of the things seem to have a WPA slash-and-burn type of mentality in the road will go there and seem to get around a lot of the Wetland issues and and do what they say in the need of benefit and in public safety, so I'll just cut off here and I'll listen to you guys on the radio, but I'm really interested in the the Min. Relationship with seems to go adversely affect a lot of wetlands issues. Let's let's start with that question Kevin Brennan. Are you add on to the US fish and wildlife service with the Minnesota Department of Transportation? Occasionally. I can only speak with the Minnesota Department of Transportation on road projects and they are required both by state and federal laws specially if they receive any federal assistance to mitigate any weapon that they may destroy part of the road construction projects and they have any way has to go in and they are required to replace a wetland that may be destroyed in in what they have done is worked with us where they restored a drained well so that there is no net loss of wetlands acreage on the landscape. Dr. Leach any comment of the better agencies to replace Wetlands. I don't think they are Wetland destroyers. In fact, they create perhaps more Wetlands than the convert because the mitigation ratio is most often more than one to one. So they may build a road through a crappy type 1 Wetland that most people might not even think of the Wetland and be required to spend taxpayers dollars to build three times as much of a very nice Wetland, which is another abuse ICD of of the Wetland legislation that we have. We're going to Duluth. Now. We're Kevin is on the phone. Good morning. Kevin a rural areas around Duluth are becoming suburbanized as we speak 80 and 40 acre Parcels becoming subdivided into small 510 acre Parcels that has no support single-family dwellings. And I think there probably is some Wetland loss in this area and we have the unfortunate situation were some of our County board members in St. Louis County have been lobbying the state to relax Wetlands rules and some of our other local politicians are doing the same and I wonder where we are in terms of the importance of the northeastern Minnesota wetlands and terms of the regulations. And what's happening up here in this area. Call Rachel I am I'm not real familiar with the Duluth area, and I do have. Somewhat of a working understanding of the Wetland Conservation act which it was passed by the state of Minnesota and in most cases Wetlands that are destroyed do the development and again have to be loss our have to be replaced and that that's for mitigation which is you know, replacing and kind and like another words if a small Wetland that is type 1 offense referred to is destroyed and that's what they would have to replace. I think when we talked about Wetlands we have to recognize that there is a definition for man in the definition is it takes three things to be a wetland one. They have to have Wetland soils to they have to have the plants that are typical of wetlands and these occur when the area is allowed to read vegetate naturally and 3 to have to have hydrology or water on the area and there is a definition so there are some areas that may actually hold water that don't meet the definition of a But there is a definition out there and that's what we use when we look at these areas. Thank you for the distinction. Marge is on the phone with us from St. Cloud. Good morning, March morning. It would seem to make sense that time if you have a lot of wetlands do they have left of water pollution, but I'm wondering have there ever been any studies that would verify that. Dr. Leach any comment, I think there's been a study that would verify almost anything. They probably either either side of us another problem with the wetlands issue is that the study may have been done in Louisiana and the results of that are applied to Wetlands elsewhere to get Wetland regulation. I hate to act like an academic and say we need more research, but maybe that's what I should be saying is we should apply the results of studies elsewhere less often to two unrelated areas. And we do I like to respond a bit to do what I think it was Kevin said about the three parameters for Wetlands water plants and soil. I don't have the the Wetland regulations in front of me, but for the water parameter, it says that there must be water to within several in remember if it's 10 in of the surface for 10% of the growing season, so you could never Ever see water on top of the surface and that would still be a weapon as long as you could dig a hole deep enough to find water in the pits. Maybe 10 inches. I don't remember and again only for 10% of the growing season. So that's where we've extended the jurisdictional definition of wetland. Well, well beyond what's a normal person thinks is a wetland. But I don't disagree with J. There is a definite the definition is a soil may be saturated and I think it's 14 days and within 12 10 to 12 in the surface and they are there are wetlands that tell me the definition and how about you have value is recharge areas. I'm sure close to the surface a lot of those white ones and Eastern Otter Tail County that I'm familiar with are directly tied to the ground water tube. Kevin Brendan are most restoration efforts successful weirdest accessory from John Lindquist. You said that came in that we've got the Ducks. We don't shoot them. We love them. The wild life is here. We're seeing Willows and cattails. Is it that easy or most of the time as you have a good success ratio what we do here in Western Minnesota out of this office. I think we've restored close to well well over fifteen hundred wetlands and we work with the soil here that are easy to restore Wetlands with we have a lot of clay as a result. We do some pre work survey work. We take a look to make sure that we're not a factor in neighboring properties and that the the Restorations are actually feasible and they're very easy to do when we have a low failure rate. Probably. The biggest thing we run into is some erosion on on our plugs are a Dykes especially in hires like last year. I run off here is like last year, but the in general I would say 95 to 99% of our Wetlands. So I restored and function just fine, but you have an audience. And watching stay at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center. We have a question from the audience tan. Come to our guests. I have a question for mr. Leach actually have a common in a question. My comment is that you keep comparing Wetlands to movies t-shirts and I believe the other one was garages in involving money in the issue. And I think you're really avoiding. The question of what is a healthy Earth. And what are we willing to give up for that help the Earth? And how are we going to find out? What a healthy Earth is in? I haven't really heard a lot of information from you about are we addressing that question my comment is to you then. Where would you recommend that the money go to? What other resources are you referring to you refer to other resources a few times and I just was wondering what you had specifically dr. Leach and closing half a minute. Why don't you respond to that? All I am questioning is all of the resources that are being spent toward protecting one particular part of the landscape and that's wetlands. Sure wetlands have value but other parts of the landscape natural landscape as well as human landscape also have value. We don't have no net loss laws for Tallgrass Prairie for hardwood forest for human elements. That's my question. Is it there is a pendulum this bandwagon to protect wetlands and I think it's not founded in science or economics or sociology. It is founded in the classrooms where they teach ecology and people believed and rightfully so that wetlands are valuable, but we need to trade that value off for other values of society present and future Generations. Thank you for being that's terrible turn our attention to waterfowl the ducks and geese that breed in his Prairie pothole region of the Northern Plains and are now migrating by the millions through Minnesota. Fergus Falls is duck hunting cont. We'll talk to duck hunters and waterfowl manager. Next hour is Wells the Fergus Falls Wildlife artist who won this year's duck stamp contest. It's all head. When we continue our Main Street special from the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center after the news.


Digitization made possible by the State of Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, approved by voters in 2008.

This Story Appears in the Following Collections

Views and opinions expressed in the content do not represent the opinions of APMG. APMG is not responsible for objectionable content and language represented on the site. Please use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report a piece of content. Thank you.

Transcriptions provided are machine generated, and while APMG makes the best effort for accuracy, mistakes will happen. Please excuse these errors and use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report an error. Thank you.

< path d="M23.5-64c0 0.1 0 0.1 0 0.2 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.3-0.1 0.4 -0.2 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.3 0 0 0 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.1 0 0.3 0.1 0.4 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.2 0 0.4-0.1 0.5-0.1 0.2 0 0.4 0 0.6-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.1-0.3 0.3-0.5 0.1-0.1 0.3 0 0.4-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.3-0.3 0.4-0.5 0-0.1 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1-0.3 0-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.2 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.3 0-0.2 0-0.4-0.1-0.5 -0.4-0.7-1.2-0.9-2-0.8 -0.2 0-0.3 0.1-0.4 0.2 -0.2 0.1-0.1 0.2-0.3 0.2 -0.1 0-0.2 0.1-0.2 0.2C23.5-64 23.5-64.1 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64"/>