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Just a quick note to Redlabel to follow up on the wetland restoration issue. The HAPET office in Bismarck tracks all the wetland restoration information for North Dakota. I went through their files back in 1997 when starting a study and at the time there were only about 700 restored wetlands in North Dakota. Considering that tens and tens of thousands have been drained, there are a lot more drained wetlands than restored wetlands.

As I indicated, drained wetlands can be restored and many studies indicate that ducks use restored wetlands at the same rate as wetlands that were never drained. Wetland restoration is a management practice currently used by FWS to increase habitat for ducks and other wildlife. Wetland restoration is expensive, though, and several recent studies have shown that some plant species and certain wetland functions take a very long time to get re-established once wetlands are restored, even though ducks seem to use them just fine right after they are restored.

I didn't at all mean to say that hunters should not support wetland protection laws. It's certainly much easier and cheaper to prevent them from being drained in the first place. The fact is though that there are a whole lot of reasons to promote wetland protection other than duck hunting, and duck hunters should have a lot of company in fighting to protect wetlands. Wetlands host a variety of birds, amphibians, etc., they function in ground-water recharge in some areas, flood control is a major function of wetlands in this area particularly, etc.

My point was that if I was going to be forced to choose between 2 candidates, one who supported wetland protection laws but otherwise would remove caps on nonresident hunters, which I believe will quickly lead to commercialization of waterfowl hunting in today's day and age, and another candidate who opposed wetland protection laws but otherwise was neutral or supportive of caps on nonresident hunters, I'd vote for the latter because there's only one reason to support caps on nonresidents, and that's to keep duck hunting for the common man, a group to which I certainly belong. As we've seen with the struggle in North Dakota, it's very hard for duck hunters to fight economics. The fight to protect wetlands should be easier because it pits society as a whole against farmers, and should have a whole lot more people on the good side and whole lot less people on the bad side.
 

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About three years ago Natural Resources Conservation Service made a big push restoreing wetlands on new CRP contracts. They would increase the CRP payment if the owner plugged the drain with a dike of their specifications. They even provided the contractor at a reduced rate. I believe DU provided a portion of the funds paid to the operator. Most of these were very shallow potholes classed temporary wetlands. Many farmers took that option.
 
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