Undraining a wetland?

Galen Peterson, Maxbass

This is a response to the article “Undraining the Prairie” that was in The Minot Daily News on April 27. You cannot undrain something that hasn’t been drained. If you drive across the state, in most areas, you will see numerous of wetlands every mile that you drive. Very few wetlands have been drained. The estimate cited in the article, from the USGS, that a little over half of the wetland acreage remains, originates from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. In the 1980’s they made this estimate to manufacture a “wetland crisis,” when one did not exist. The USFW has never been able to substantiate their wetland loss estimates.

Many of the small potholes in a cropped field are far more than an annoyance. They are a major contributor to saline and compaction problems in the soils. Inputs and fuel are needlessly wasted. The overall productivity of the field is dramatically reduced because of delayed seeding and wet conditions. The benefits of wetlands are always overstated versus their negative impacts, via conjecture rather that sound scientific data. As Albert Einstein stated, referring to unsound science, “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”

If you have recently received a letter from the USFW asking you to consider granting them a wetland easement, you need to know what kind of agency you will be dealing with. One of their employees stated at a legislative hearing that they had a long list of landowners wanting to grant wetland easements, but didn’t have the funds available. When a legislator asked to see that list, the USFW person admitted they didn’t have one. Now, they apparently have the funds and are actively soliciting for easements. If you grant them an easement, it will grow and not be limited to the acreage you thought you granted, and it will be forever. The easement will prevent you and future generations from ever being able to improve that property.

The Ducks Unlimited and the USFW agendas never have and never will be for the best interests of agriculture producers and the state of North Dakota. They will continue to disseminate false and inaccurate data about wetlands. They will continue to ignore the fact that wildlife and waterfowl have never had it so good because of modern farming practices.