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Drought: Waterfowl Worries

September 16, 2012, 10:05 PM by Don Jorgensen

Drought: Waterfowl Worries

Millions of migrating ducks, geese and other waterfowl will find fewer rest stops on their way south this fall, because of the lingering drought.

Sloughs, ponds and other wetlands have all dried up this summer.

In a normal year, they were considered prime nesting grounds for waterfowl.  But conservation organizations say the lack of water may affect future hunting.

"As the drought has progressed, it may impact some of the hunting this fall," Ducks Unlimited Regional Director Don Thorpe said.

Thorpe is one of the guests on this week's Inside KELOLAND. He says if the drought continues through the winter, next spring's nesting success will be tough.

"We actually need the snow through the winter to replenish those wetlands and when we have an open winter it definitely affects the wetlands,"  Thorpe said.

But so far the numbers look good. Because of last year's high water, waterfowl populations flourished. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service counted a record 48 million ducks during its annual survey, that's more than last year. Still, as a conservation organization that takes care of not only wetlands, but also grasslands, they worry.
 
"Some of the ducks may not stick around in this area as long as they normally do when we had high water," Thorpe said.

That's why many believe unless we get significant rain; this year's hunting season success will be a shot in the dark.

You can hear more of the discussion about Ducks Unlimited and other timely topics this Sunday night on Inside KELOLAND following the 10 p.m. news.

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