Corn complexes in the Columbia basin

DR. DUX

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But would it not be better for waterfowl to create a fully functioning moist soil conservation area, that benifits ducks year around, then those grain complexes that are drained by 31 March yearly. Both would supply food for return migration, but fully functioning will supply many more elements yearly, just a question.
Keep in mind, what are waterfowl using WA for primarily? Migration stop. It is no longer a state that produces a ton so really the biomass of food sources are at particular points of the migration are most important. The bulk of that is harvested ag lands particularly in the Winter. In the Spring seasonal wetlands provide a lot of bugs but there still is a lot of ag biomass. As you noted, we have a lot of large bodies of water which are also necessary for loafing and roosting.

Our degraded permanent wetlands provide a lot more in the Spring (bugs) than they do in the Winter.

Now to moist soil. For the a good moist soil circumstance you need to be able to have those wetland dry for a portion of the time or smatweed and other desired plants won’t grow. Good moist soil operations are just as dry as other wetland complexes after March 31st.

Strictly from a time management point of view there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the two. Now from management intensity and expense…..big difference. Moist soil is no effort or expense unless you mow it. The other….yikes.
 

Mallardmasher

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Keep in mind, what are waterfowl using WA for primarily? Migration stop. It is no longer a state that produces a ton so really the biomass of food sources are at particular points of the migration are most important. The bulk of that is harvested ag lands particularly in the Winter. In the Spring seasonal wetlands provide a lot of bugs but there still is a lot of ag biomass. As you noted, we have a lot of large bodies of water which are also necessary for loafing and roosting.

Our degraded permanent wetlands provide a lot more in the Spring (bugs) than they do in the Winter.

Now to moist soil. For the a good moist soil circumstance you need to be able to have those wetland dry for a portion of the time or smatweed and other desired plants won’t grow. Good moist soil operations are just as dry as other wetland complexes after March 31st.

Strictly from a time management point of view there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the two. Now from management intensity and expense…..big difference. Moist soil is no effort or expense unless you mow it. The other….yikes.
Thank you, that makes since, We need to boost Washington’s natural production again.
 

Mallardmasher

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I use to be heavy into DU, from a monetary standpoint, but now they just get my dues, Now my money goes to Delta, a group that to focuses on duck production, but a group that puts hunters first. Thru what I have learned from them, I have two 120acre wetland banks, that can not be hunted on, but are built for wetland management with no access. Each last year had 6 rodent proof wood duck nest boxes. All but 3 used first year, 6 hen nest tubes per, again all but 2 used, and 2 each goose platforms, all used. All will be taken to 10 units each this year, added another wetland bank in Port Orchard, to nest up and you will see my tubes and boxes and platforms this year in the ponds between I5 in nisqually this year with branching out to Native American wetlands to the west of hwy after all the detail worked out. These are easy projects we as hunters can all do. If we all built just 3 wood duck boxes, 3 hen nest tubes across this state, look at the massive impact it would help on local predator free nesting, and it is fun to watch them use it.
 

Duck_Hunter_88

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I haven't read everything here but I wanted to highlight a couple of things...I shot my first mallard in 1972 in E WA since then:

1. The population of WA has gone up by 2.3x
2. The number of ducks has decreased by 1.7 million (see Dr Dux) and may be 50% of the 1970s and 80s, overall.
3. The amount of E WA public hunting land has increased; Snake River Mitigation Act acquisitions; DNR purchases; restructuring of refuges by WDFW to open areas; WDFW landowner projects. BTW there are some in WA Legislature who think WA has too much public land.
4. The E WA public hunting is managed better; more restrictive days and hours, more crops...
5. Private landowners do not give permission like they used to; vandalism, littering, damage to expensive irrigation equipment, owners who don't live on the land cannot oversee what is going on. Ag in E WA is pretty profitable hunting is really just an annoyance to most farmers.
6. As Dr Dux pointed out WA produces fewer ducks...but also some habitat has changed and become less desirable for duck resting.
7. The number of people willing to pay for guided hunts has increased; guides tell me that clients are not limiting their hunts, having huntable land is the limiting factor. Simple supply and demand.

So we have 2x the people going after 1/2 of the ducks and private lands are being kept private.

My observation is that there is a lot of public land that does not get hunted and public hunters tend to focus on crowded popular areas.
 

WidgeonmanGH

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While the population of WA has gone up by 2.3x the number of duck hunters has not. It has even declined. I think we have like27 - 29K duck hunters (last three seasons) in WA but in earlier years we had a lot more.
 

CA Birdman

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Your breeding population may be down but what is the wintering waterfowl population - sorry but Eagle Lakes, Whistling Wings, Paul's Pond and all the complexes in Eastern WA kept open with aerators and ice eaters hold significantly more mallards than historical averages from 1980s to 2000s and same goes for Idaho. In CA we use to have significant mallard migration as states above us in the flyway froze up or food got a little sparse so that by 12/15 at latest mallards would be in. Now there is very little of a mallard migration even when had feed before current drought year. The east side hunting complexes are ice free and shooting mallards like shooting gallery till the end of season. WA and ID are now the end of the mallard migration
 

Duck_Hunter_88

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While the population of WA has gone up by 2.3x the number of duck hunters has not. It has even declined. I think we have like27 - 29K duck hunters (last three seasons) in WA but in earlier years we had a lot more.
What I don't know is distribution I can only guess that the number of hunters in W WA is way way down and E WA could very well be up; I don't now. The places I hunted in W WA in the 1980s are literally warehouses, shopping malls and housing developments. They were undeveloped private lands near Kent, Redmond and Issaquah and they were very good and permission was easy to get.

The decline in overall numbers of hunters is probably more related to overall losses of opportunity whereas my more recent experience is only in E WA.
 

EWUEagles

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Your breeding population may be down but what is the wintering waterfowl population - sorry but Eagle Lakes, Whistling Wings, Paul's Pond and all the complexes in Eastern WA kept open with aerators and ice eaters hold significantly more mallards than historical averages from 1980s to 2000s and same goes for Idaho. In CA we use to have significant mallard migration as states above us in the flyway froze up or food got a little sparse so that by 12/15 at latest mallards would be in. Now there is very little of a mallard migration even when had feed before current drought year. The east side hunting complexes are ice free and shooting mallards like shooting gallery till the end of season. WA and ID are now the end of the mallard migration
It’s insane how many birds they shoot every day from the same spot. I have a buddy who guides for Pacific Wings and he’s shooting 4+ man limits almost daily out of the same pond. He posted a photos the other day of his decoys being moved by ice eaters. It’s weird how the ones with the biggest bank accounts can push the boundaries of the law.
 

DR. DUX

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I haven't read everything here but I wanted to highlight a couple of things...I shot my first mallard in 1972 in E WA since then:

1. The population of WA has gone up by 2.3x
2. The number of ducks has decreased by 1.7 million (see Dr Dux) and may be 50% of the 1970s and 80s, overall.
3. The amount of E WA public hunting land has increased; Snake River Mitigation Act acquisitions; DNR purchases; restructuring of refuges by WDFW to open areas; WDFW landowner projects. BTW there are some in WA Legislature who think WA has too much public land.
4. The E WA public hunting is managed better; more restrictive days and hours, more crops...
5. Private landowners do not give permission like they used to; vandalism, littering, damage to expensive irrigation equipment, owners who don't live on the land cannot oversee what is going on. Ag in E WA is pretty profitable hunting is really just an annoyance to most farmers.
6. As Dr Dux pointed out WA produces fewer ducks...but also some habitat has changed and become less desirable for duck resting.
7. The number of people willing to pay for guided hunts has increased; guides tell me that clients are not limiting their hunts, having huntable land is the limiting factor. Simple supply and demand.

So we have 2x the people going after 1/2 of the ducks and private lands are being kept private.

My observation is that there is a lot of public land that does not get hunted and public hunters tend to focus on crowded popular areas.
I do have a major duck production WA opportunity that is politically viable (aquifer recharger among many many other things) and when it finally rolls wouldn’t mind if to have more waterfowl/conservation state holders other than just me.
 

DisplacedDuck

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If you care to view populations in Washington over time, check out the link on our website.


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Disclaimer, I own the site, but receive no monetary gain from use of it. It’s free to use.
 

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