Editorial: Ducks, people benefit from Ducks Unlimited

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 9, 2006

Here’s a hearty thumbs up to Ducks Unlimited. The work they will do to replace the Geneva Lake dam benefits duck hunters and the general public alike. Anyone who enjoys natural areas will appreciate the generosity of Ducks Unlimited.

The organization aims to conserve wetlands, and it has a special effort in Minnesota and Iowa to protect lakes. The effort is called Living Lakes. As part of that effort, Ducks Unlimited will pay $150,000 to replace the dam at Geneva Lake.

The cost to replace the county-owned dam could end up anywhere between $100,000 and $130,000. No matter the cost, the figure Ducks Unlimited pitches in will stay the same. The county retains ownership and responsibility for the structure.

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Right now, the Geneva Lake dam employs a fixed crest, which does not allow the lake to be drawn down below a set level. The replacement will allow for adjustments that mimic natural processes.

Geneva Lake suffers from poor water quality caused by, according to the lake’s management plan, &8220;excessive nutrients, undesirable fish, and high and fluctuating water levels, wave action and ice damage and removal of aquatic plants. These factors combine to harm plants and invertebrates and the fish and wildlife that depends on them for food and cover.&8221;

The management plan concludes that the most effective way to help the vegetation and thereby aid everything else is a dam that allows drawdowns. There will have to be an agreement between the DNR, Freeborn County and the Turtle Creek Watershed for the drawdowns, ideally carried out in late winter or spring.

You don’t have to be a duck hunter to support Ducks Unlimited. You don’t even have to like ducks. You still benefit from supporting Ducks Unlimited and similar conservation groups, such as Pheasants Forever or the Minnesota Land Trust. They do all of us good.

They help our quality of life.

Moreover, they are thinking about our kids’ quality of life.