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Climate Changes and Water Fowl--Dan Olson

As told by Dan Olson
Detroit Lakes, Minnesota

Story Narrative:

This story was collected as part of a collaborative effort to record the state of American lakes, rivers, and waterways as well an attempt to uncover what water means to Americans. Listen to other stories recorded for the Be Here: Main Street project, a collaboration with the MuseWeb Foundation to record stories from rural America. 

“My name is Dan Olsen and I live in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Our family has owned a lake property for it's been over 40 years now. Just even in that time, it's been interesting to note the changes that have taken place in the lake based on development, not only on the lake but also development taking place in the area. For example, when we first built a cabin on the lake, there were very few ducks and geese on the lake and now there are lots of ducks and geese on the lake. One reason for that is that the habitat they prefer, which are some of the wetland areas, are being drained and causing less habitat there, so more ducks and geese are showing up in the lake. One thing that's been interesting that I've noticed is that where they tend to be a problem, and by that I mean they come up on people's property and make a mess in their yard.

It's often they'll come up where people have mowed their grass all the way down to the lake where there's no buffer between the human activity and the lake activity. But where you keep your property natural along the lake shore, letting natural vegetation grow up to a certain a little higher than it would be if you mowed it, that the ducks and geese are going to avoid those properties because they're worried about what might be hiding in that vegetated strip, predators and other things, and so they'll take the easiest route and go to properties that have been, like I said, probably mowed right down to the lake. If you want to avoid that kind of an issue, it's a good idea to create your own natural little buffer strip, maybe 10, 15 feet wide, where you just simply let the vegetation grow along the lake and you can avoid some of those problems that people are having with ducks and geese these days.”

Asset ID #3889

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