Ground crew begins surveying Western Dakotas

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Written by Kathy Fleming
Monday, May 04, 2009

photo of Kathy FlemingJohn Klimstra and I headed west out of Pierre, South Dakota this morning on the first day of our 2009 ground survey of the western Dakotas and Montana. We’re seeing a lot more water in this area than we saw last year, which is a great sign. In fact, we had a really long day today, because counting ducks took us a lot longer than we planned, due to the excellent habitat conditions — many streams and ponds overflowing. This area doesn’t have a lot of natural wetlands. Most of the water is contained in stock dams and dugouts that farmers provide for their cattle. And even some of those have been dry after several straight years of drought, so duck production has been marginal in this area. But the local landowners we’ve spoken to say this is the most water they’ve had on the ground for years. Hopefully, this trend will continue across our survey area.

John Klimstra and Kathy Fleming