I have a few questions concerning the recent story on the Green Island Wildlife Area by DNR staff, in particular Mr. Curt Kemmerer. I am using this platform because I'm sure there are other folks out there with the same questions, and I would ask Mr. Kemmerer if he would kindly clear up a couple of things.
It was mentioned that flooding has had a major impact on the area for seven of the last nine years. However, the entire area except for Brown's lake is surrounded and protected from the river by a dike system. How did the river water get in? I don't understand how flooding on the Mississippi could have much of an effect on the area within the dike unless it has suffered failures of which I'm not aware. Surely the tubes going to the river were closed so as not to allow the river water in.
Another point on water levels, with duck season right around the corner, the water inside the dike is currently extremely low. Perhaps the plan is to raise the water at the last minute and that's fine. If not, this may come as a nasty early-morning surprise to hunters who assumed with the high water on the Mississippi there would be plenty of water to float their boats in Green Island.
And now if I may, a bit of history regarding Green Island from an old duck hunter who has enjoyed those wonderful marshes for nearly 60 years.
It was mentioned in the article that loss of habitat was the reason there are fewer duck hunters, and "waterfowl hunting isn't what it once was." By far the most important reason for the downturn in Green Island waterfowl hunting began about 35 years ago when the DNR called a meeting at Bellevue State Park. They informed us hunters a huge part of the Green Island area including Fish Lake was being closed to hunting for the creation of a new reserve, the main reason being to attract Canada geese. There would be a "call flock" brought in to hopefully create a "Southern Horicon". Of course, most of us hunters were completely against this plan, as there were already plenty of reserve areas nearby. However, we were all assured this was only a "temporary" closure, not to exceed 3 or 4 years. To this day the area has never been re-opened to hunting, and it has gradually attracted more and more ducks. Because of this, the only hope hunters now have is to set up along the boundary of this huge reserve and hope a duck blunders over the line. All other areas, including old Dennsmore and Blake's Lake, which used to be fine hunting areas, are now pretty much hopeless. Anything in the sky that sees the reserve teeming with ducks is dropping in to join them, and a hunter has no chance. This is why so many hunters have given up hunting in Green Island. If the DNR would like to have more duck hunters in Green Island, I suggest re-opening this "temporary" reserve to hunting and watch the hunters return, along with the revenue created by their hunting licenses and duck stamps.
I wish to thank Mr. Kemmerer in advance for his responses, and for his work in one of my favorite places on earth!