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I appreciate Bill Eddleman's explanation of moist soil management. What is 
especially valuable to this discussion is his distinction between the annual 
on-again-off-again flooding of moist soil units and the multi-year water 
level manipulation needed to develop and maintain marshes. Bill's post also 
helpfully points out that in a refuge managed primarily for waterfowl 
hunting, the management decision is moist soil vs. row crops not moist soil 
vs. marsh. As he cogently argues, moist soil management  is much better for 
us than row crop management.

Bill suggests that birders talk with refuge managers. This can only help, 
but to get the best results, we need to go further. Squaw Creek is a prime 
example of good birder/manager relations. Under the leadership of George 
Scheil, "Friends of Squaw Creek" has given hundreds of volunteer hours to 
the refuge. When drought dried up the refuge, FOSC helped raise money for 
pumping. If you haven't already done so, check out FOSC's web site at 
http://www.squawcreek.org/gen_info.html. No wonder Squaw Creek's management 
is birder friendly!

There are only a few areas of Missouri where birders are numerous enough to 
provide support for a refuge comparable to that of Friends of Squaw Creek 
But there are other things only a few can do to be helpful. Most managers 
will appreciate the development of a bird list for their refuge. I am aware 
of several CAs where birders have assisted managers with the censusing of 
wildlife. I don't fully understand CACHE, but it has to provide data useful 
to managers.

There are also things we can do on the state level. In recent years, all 
waterfowl refuges have been put off limits to non-hunters throughout the 
duck season. This practice is so pervasive that it must have come from 
Jefferson City. I believe it is unduly restrictive and should be relaxed. I 
appreciate the diplomact of Edge Wade and others at this level.

It is simplistic to say that hunters provide most of the money; therefore we 
don't count.  Not only is the hunter vs. birder polarization much more 
harmful than useful; it is also illusory. We birders benefit a lot from the 
contribution hunters make to the development of wetland refuges. But it is 
not a one-way street. We birders not only provide some of the money through 
our sales taxes, MDC also gets millions from the Federal Government. We 
cannot claim full credit for the federal money, but our support is important 
to keep it coming to Missouri. And in some cases, how much we 
"non-consumers" use state refuges has an impact on how much Uncle Sam thinks 
Missouri should get.

Bill Eddleman's post  adds the human element to what might otherwise be an 
abstract discussion of competing political forces. Refuge managers are 
usually people who want to be helpful, and we are people who want to be 
helped. Friendly interaction will often do a whole lot of good for everyone.

Thanks, Bill.

Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
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