Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wetlands, Conservation and Waterfowl

as vital to our ecosystems' health as kidneys are to a human's. You may not dwell on their importance, until they are compromised or cease to function.

The keynote speaker at OOS/Columbus Audubon's excellent Waterfowl Symposium illuminated the point with a photo presentation on the century's worst man-made ecological disaster. Quite a claim to fame, achieved by the one and only Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

Dr Alwash has been involved in engineering the re-flooding of the southern Iraq marshes, the cradle of mankind and the likely location of Eden. The marsh people of Iraq have thrived here for centuries, co-existing with the land and utilizing the marsh reeds for most of their needs, from fuel to building supplies, until Saddam intentionally left them high and dry. In order to punish the marsh people for rebelling against his power, Saddam drained the marshes- destroying their lives and livelihood.
Today efforts are being made to reintroduce water to this region, once again allowing the marsh reeds to grow and thrive. For the full story, you can go to National Geographic on line and read Iraq's Eden: Reviving the Legendary Marshes.
.......... Photo from Wiki
And while Americans tend to dismiss all reed grasses as undesirable invasives, even the worst of these harbor an abundance of species, from insects, to frogs and birds. And with proper management some very desirable diversity will thrive along the edges of these areas, i.e. Cleveland Museum's Wakerobin Trail.
If you are interested in learning more about wetlands diversity be certain to follow this link to the FOWL organizations link where you will find a registration for an upcoming Managing Wetlands for Biodiversity. Greg Lipps will cover the fauna, while Dr Jim Bissell and John Mack will handily address the flora.
And while you are thinking about wetland conservation... don't forget to purchase your Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp to help purchase wetlands. They are not just for "Ducks!" And to support biodiversity in Ohio, look for this Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp. We will be selling them on the upcoming GMAS trip to Killdeer Plains. So click on our website for details, and plan to meet us there March 6th, 2010. Hope to see you there!

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