Better refuge managment

Discussion in 'California Flyway Forum' started by ducky911, Jan 26, 2018.

  1. Berdnird

    Berdnird Senior Refuge Member

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    I'm not a scientist, but I get the feeling that adding tens of thousands of acres of nuts each year isn't helping any local waterfowl populations.
     
  2. tule

    tule Elite Refuge Member

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    Well, at least your honest. My question is this.....why dont you guys improve the habitat on your club to attract/hold birds? Its kind of like you running a junk yard and expecting your neighbor to plant corn so you can pass shoot geese. My visual experience of grasslands clubs is they run sheep/cattle in the off season to feed things down and maybe to make a couple dollars, i dont know. So why not plant food for the birds, leave a pond or two wet all year as brood/permanent ponds, make improvements to better your club? I think most club owners just provide water and blinds and hope the birds show up. Why is it that the Hollister Club is so successful? I have never been on it but hear its pretty successful, maybe one of the best in the south valley?
     
  3. CA Birdman

    CA Birdman Elite Refuge Member

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    Did you think the decline of the pheasant population happened in a bottle or just affected pheasants. It just happened to be covered by ducks migrating into CA to be shot. With the extended drought, extensive and well managed habitat for hunting at top of flyway -WA and ER High pressure that causes CA to have warm temperatures, mallards and other big ducks that can handle cold are not migrating down and mallards that were local stock are not being replenished because recruitment from the local hatch is not high enough. Kind of like the idiots in charge going after guns, it is death by a 1000 cuts, same with duck and pheasant populations. Declining habitat, change to crops not got for survival - almonds versus wheat field or fallow ground, spraying for mosquitoes, predator population increase, and list goes on and on. That is a lot of stuff rolling downhill towards lower local duck numbers to overcome all in a state that would not be supportive of predator control and so on.
     
  4. tule

    tule Elite Refuge Member

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    You mean to tell me the thousands of acres that were once hay fields or row crops with ditches, that are now almond trees with micro-irrigation, dont produce the thousands of ducklings/chicks that it once used to?:clap

    You are absolutely correct Kevin. Even some of those grassy edges on the sides of water ditches produced ducks.....now everything is pumped and ditches are being filled in for a nut tree. Habitat is lost. Everything down Henry Miller from Santa Nella to Volta is nuts. The East side of the valley is nuts. The south side of the valley is nuts. The north valley is nuts. Its not sustainable. Mono-cultures like almonds are only good for a select few, beekeepers, farmers and brokers. They are not good for wildlife at all unless your a dove looking for a place to roost.

    Mono-cultures also push predators into other areas with better habitat or high density nesting resulting in more dead hens and raided nests.
     
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  5. Calikev

    Calikev Elite Refuge Member

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    Agree 100%
     
  6. Reverend

    Reverend Refuge Member

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    We pretty much talked this one to death in this thread, but to answer this one question and the large amount of opinion directed at the idea of a private club calling out the management of the refuge system I will add one more comment. Readers of CWA magazine saw Jeff Kerry quoted in a recent article talking about the best ways to manage hunting areas for sustained success. We have the best maintained wetland that I have personally ever seen and our hunting success has been the equivalent of the best clubs in the grasslands. We also happen to have a birds eye view to an adjacent refuge but that one data point is not what the petition that started this thread is about. Instead the petition is about holding the refuge system accountable for the mission that they were created for. If the mission has been overlooked in part or in whole by any number of the refuges then there is a problem with how public money is being spent. Some of us believe this to be the case but as has been discussed here at length, opinions vary.
     
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  7. Calikev

    Calikev Elite Refuge Member

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    Let me first start with saying the petition is a good idea providing it gets much more specific about where the changes need to occur.....

    First and foremost there needs to be more focus on creating a solid Habitat Committee that has refuge managers and private land managers coming together to discuss best practices. There are lots of differences in management styles, resource availability and desire. Those need to be more aligned with one another for things to be more successful. Some Managers want wide open sheet water that was grazed down like concrete in the offseason while others want their cover to open water ratios to be more 50/50. In any event, there needs to be more information sharing, especially in a relatively dry State where effective water management is so important. A lot can be learned about how to get more done with less water which will become the new way to manage. Recycling water, stage flooding and strategic management of priorities will be essential to success moving forward. A joint committee can help accomplish alignment. They have one starting again but I don't know a whole bunch about it as this point but at least that is the right direction.

    In terms of how clubs manage vs. refuges, there are good and bad extremes of both cases. I've seen stellar clubs that understand what they are doing and put their resources in the right places. Then I've seen refuges that do the same. What folks need to understand is that isn't feasible for everyone. So providing there is some semblance to proper management of seasonal habitat, we can't fault many private land club owners into doing what they can on the budget they are working with. Not everyone has the deep pockets of Butte Sink clubs or the Hollister. Most of the refuges are operating around the red line. They aren't profit making organizations as some suggest and I've seen their budgets and they have no wiggle room to do even a small % of the things we all wish they could do. This is not a playground for millionaires like what you see in the Butte Sink. These are public properties.........subject to budget cuts and fluctuations. A few years back they were so bad they didn't think they would get the funding to even fill diesel in the tractors. That is the reality of the world we live in today.

    The biggest question is why is it the sole responsibility of the refuges to manage a certain way? I believe over 70% of the wetlands in the Grasslands are privately held. So it shouldn't just be the responsibility of the refuges to create quality loafing habitat to sanctuary birds for clubs that are nearby. Sure that can be a by product of it but the mission for the refuges should be to manage the resource the best way they can given the circumstances. During dry years or periods that may mean stage flooding sanctuaries or feeding areas which could impact nearby properties. In addition, refuge managers who are on a set water allotment and need to use so much water in spring and summer also have to carry water over into the fall to flood their foraging areas during the course of winter migration. The idea is to keep the birds here where they can be healthy which is the ultimate mission. Aldo Leupold always preached that you take care of the resource first. So that should always be the #1 mission and then recreational use can benefit as a result of a healthy resource. So just like the fringe clubs who don't have the money that the Hollister or Gustine have, these refuges do the best that they can to keep the birds here healthy.

    Take a drive out to some of the refuges. It is a mixed bag out there. If you want timothy ponds and open water you find that on most of the places. Some places have watergrass units, smartweed units while others have mixed marsh habitats with riparian sections. Many areas are flooded early in August-September while others stage flood througout the season until January. Some areas have summer water, reverse cycle wetlands while others manage areas for waterfowl nesting and maintain tail water through borrow channels. Many places incorporate sheep, cattle grazing, burning and discing/mowing as regular management tools. Some of that even brings revenue back into the pool to help buy seed for reseeding watergrass units or helping fill the void from Upland stamp revenue that can't fully fund upland enhancements.

    All in all I think there is great examples on the NWR's and WA's in the Grasslands of quality management. Could it be better? Sure it can but it will take more resources, guidance and collaboration to accomplish some of that. It starts with more of the users participating in the meetings and voicing opinions on hunt program enhancements, habitat discussions/observations, etc. which is all good in creating a good line of communication between hunters and managers. Most importantly it opens the eyes of hunters on the real challenges these public areas face. They are real.

    Kevin
     
  8. sacbob

    sacbob Elite Refuge Member

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    BUMP
     
  9. pumpgunner

    pumpgunner Elite Refuge Member

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    Bump bump
     
  10. RemSpt58

    RemSpt58 Elite Refuge Member

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    To Kevin’s last post :clap:clap:clap:clap:clap
     

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