Yep, It's Dry Out Here!

Written by Kammie Kruse
Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Photo of Kammie Kruse.I don't want to add more gloom and doom to what Terry Liddick, the biologist pilot for our survey area, wrote in his report, but I can only heartily agree that it is DRY!!!!!!! Plus, the few wetlands that do have water are often empty of ducks. I think that they saw the poor conditions in South Dakota and kept flying north. I would have expected that with all the rain that we received this week we would have observed more temporary wetlands, but the fields are so dry they are sucking the water right into the soil. We are looking forward to hopefully better conditions in North Dakota. Helping me this year with conducting the ground count is Helina Alvarez (Wildlife Refuge Specialist at Sand Lake NWR, SD), Chris Reighn (Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Boise, ID) and a returning member from last year Stephen LeJeune (Engine Captain at Texas Chenier Plains Complex).

Eastern Dakotas Ground Crew 2015 (Chris Reighn, Helina Alvarez, Kammie Kruse, Stephen LeJeune).

Eastern Dakotas Ground Crew 2015 (Chris Reighn, Helina Alvarez, Kammie Kruse, Stephen LeJeune). Photo by Kammie Kruse, US FWS

Recessed water in dugout, indicator of dry conditions in South Dakota.

Recessed water in dugout, indicator of dry conditions in South Dakota. Photo by Kammie Kruse, US FWS

Kammie counting ducks for the ground crew.

Kammie counting ducks for the ground crew. Photo by Kammie Kruse, US FWS

Helina Alvarez trying to get the best view for counting ducks from our moving vehicle.

Helina Alvarez trying to get the best view for counting ducks from our moving vehicle. Photo by Kammie Kruse, US FWS

Blue-winged teal on one of the wetlands on Mansfield transect that had water and vegetation.

Blue-winged teal on one of the wetlands on Mansfield transect that had water and vegetation. Photo by Kammie Kruse, US FWS

Two pairs of ducks on a wetland that has had all of its wetland vegetation removed...not good nesting habitat.

Two pairs of ducks on a wetland that has had all of its wetland vegetation removed...not good nesting habitat. Photo by Kammie Kruse, US FWS

Another closer image of the mallard pair seen in the shot above.

Another closer image of the mallard pair seen in the shot above. Photo by Kammie Kruse, US FWS