At 11:41 AM 10/12/2002 -0500, you wrote:
Much as Bill Eddleman would like to get back to the birds per se, his comments are a learning experience for me and just make me want to learn more about this bird habitat subject. But first I want to make sure I have learned correctly. Are the following paraphrases of Bill's comments correct?
American Lotus supplants more valuable bird food sources in two ways, viz.:
(1) If the water is deep enough so that there would be open water if the lotus were removed, it crowds and/or shades out bottom-growing plants on which ducks and coots might otherwise feed.
(2) If it covers an area that dries out, or nearly dries out, in summer, as has happened this summer at Squaw Creek and Swan Lake, it prevents the growth of moist soil plans like smartweed, sprangletop and millet. (It probably also prevents the temporary development of good shorebird habitat as open water dries out to become the moist soil in which smartweed, etc. grow).
Assuming that I am with Bill so far, I'm wondering how much justification there is for curbing American Lotus' takeover of very large areas of what used to be open water at Squaw Creek and Swan Lake. It seems to me this is a relatively recent phenomenon at both refuges. (The 1993 flood completely wiped out the American Lotus at Squaw Creek. Before that, although some Ameican Lotus was present at the south end of the main pool, there were large areas of open water in summer. I'm less familiar with Swan Lake, but I seem to remember quite a bit of open water in the area there now clogged with American Lotus). The initial argument would be that if the American Lotus were controlled, both refuges could have a lot more duck habitat.
I think the Squaw Creek manager's response would probably be that he has been developing a lot of duck habitat in other parts of the refuge (e.g. Mallard Marsh) and that the portions of the main pool where the lotus is serve mainly as a resting place for very large flocks of geese and ducks in late fall and early spring, when the lotus has died down. (The Snow Geese, of course, feed off the refuge, as do some of the dabbling ducks.) Likewise, he has been developing other areas of the refuge for shorebirds (for which he deserves much praise from us!).
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