The Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge hosted a wetland workshop for landowners, producers and wetland managers on October 1st, 2016. The event was organized by the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams with support from The Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, WESTAR Energy, Star Seed Company, Natural Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and Missouri Department of Conservation.
“I really appreciated this focused day on waterfowl habitat,” said Brad Bradley, a landowner who attended the workshop. “It was a brilliant idea to involve surrounding local private landowners in the conservation efforts for waterfowl, and the agencies and biologists cooperated very well to pull off such an informative and useful workshop.” Bradley continued. “There are many more acres of waterfowl habitat in private hands than in the state and federal waterfowl refuges. I learned things I could put to immediate use. Within two days of the seminar, I had re-worked one of my waterfowl levees in accordance with what I had learned, to revitalize it. I have plans to double the number of levees I have on my property. I have a much better understanding of why marshes work and how to make marshes work.”
Speakers and instructors at the workshop provided information on how holistic wetland management benefits many wildlife species, improves watershed function, and ultimately attracts plentiful waterfowl for duck hunting. “Economics, recreation and ecological benefits are all part of the conversation,” commented Bob Culbertson with the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams. “Landowners are already asking for similar workshops that include more details, or look at other wildlife resources such as turkey and deer.”
The workshop started at 9am with a classroom session at the Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge. The afternoon session of the workshop included four stops on a field tour. Three of the stops were on the Marais des Cygnes wildlife area and the final stop was at Patterson Duck Club. The sites sampled moist soil management to promote waterfowl and wetland habitat, and a green tree wetland, a type of bottomland hardwood forest which depends on seasonal flooding to survive. Various equipment and implements were also shown to demonstrate management options and techniques.
Sixty-Five people attended the workshop. “We’d like to extend our gratitude to the supporters and sponsors of this event,” said Culbertson. “Being able to provide this workshop at no cost to landowners was paramount in making it available to everyone who wanted to attend.”