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Scott Rall: Help make newest wildlife management area one to be proud of

When you drive past a business or a home that looks great and is well cared for, you know that that appearance does not come without someone putting lots of time and energy to get it that way and keeping it that way. I have never liked mowing all...

When you drive past a business or a home that looks great and is well cared for, you know that that appearance does not come without someone putting lots of time and energy to get it that way and keeping it that way.
I have never liked mowing all that much, but there are some homes in town and in the countyside that are manicured like they have their own staff of five full-time lawn care specialists. No one could ever accuse me of that kind of attention to my lawn.
When it comes to wildlife habitat, on the other hand, that is a different story. I spend lots of time burning, seeding and improving habitat primarily on public lands for the benefit of the general public. When you see a parcel of wildlife habitat that is in pristine condition, it also means that someone has spent lots of time and energy to get it that way and keeping it that way. There is the initial effort, and then a maintenance effort that is ongoing.
The initial effort for a new public land is about 80 percent of the total effort needed. A small amount of effort on and off over the following years should be capable of keeping the property looking great.
Nobles County Pheasants Forever is undertaking a pretty big project on April 23 at 8 a.m. and could use your help. The 80-acre property clean-up project is on the new addition to the Lambert Prairie Wildlife Management Area. It is located southwest of Worthington. The way to get to and see this land is to take County Road 35 west until you come to the intersection of County road 12, which is also called McCall Avenue. Head south on highway 12/McCall Ave. for two miles and turn right on 270th Street for half a mile and you will be there.
This site has been pastured for many decades and a small amount of acres are in crop production for one more year. There is a boundary fence and lots of interior fence that is going to be removed.
Some of the boundary posts will remain in order to keep the property lines visible. The fence wire is taken out so foot traffic, like hunters and dogs, can use the property without getting caught up in or injured by the barbed wire which will be hidden by the native grasses that will be planted in the fall.
In addition to removing the fences there will be a extensive effort to pick all of the trash and other debris on this site.
My initial inspection indicated there was a big pile of cement blocks to be removed. There is iron of all shapes and sizes and several sections of water pipe about 20 feet long. Sheet steel has blown in over the past 100 years and as long as it did not bother a cow there was really no reason for the prior owner to worry about it or remove it.
Almost every pasture I have ever seen has a spot that the owner used to deposit garbage and other stuff. Many similar spots that I have worked on had cars, appliances and other large items. This one does not have those large parts, but there is more than enough cans and bottles and one of everything else to go around. We are always amazed at what you find when you do a project like this.
In addition to the metal and fence and general garbage pick-up we are also removing all of the invasive volunteer trees on this site. There are no big trees but about 50 individual sparsely placed junk trees and bushes.
These trees provide no measurable wildlife value. They are too far apart to stop any wind or provide any protection. All they do is give a predator a perch with which to hunt birds and nesting hens.
There is a possibility that there might be a willow planting added when the time of the year is right. These willows will be grouped tightly so as to provide a windbreak for pheasants and deer. The DNR will making that call.
We are going to have a bonfire, also. All of the rotten wooden posts are going to be piled with the brush and burned on site. In the past we relied solely on the members of the PF committee do all of this work. They are helping again on the 23rd but this time around we are asking for your help as well. As with most volunteer groups, the members are aging and me and my guys don’t hump the posts and branches like we used to. We are selling the posts, so if you need some look me up.
If you decide you would like to help (and we certainly can use the help) all you need to bring along is a good pair of gloves, safety glasses, (we do have some available) and a pliers to cut wire with if you have one. We will be serving buffalo dogs, chips and beans for the helpers when the job is complete.
I believe that if we can get 30 people on site we can finish in about four hours. There is a fair amount of water on this site, so a pair of rubber boots could be a good bring-along as well.
While we are asking, there is one other item that needs a few additional helpers. Last week I informed all interested parties that the Firearms Safety Range Day was going to be on May 7 at the Worthington Gun Club. It starts at 12:30 p.m. and ends at 4:30 p.m. We have a great group of guys and gals that help us out but could use a few extra adults to fill in a few spots.
If you think that this is something you would consider helping with, please call me at 507-360-6027. Many hands make light work.
The weather is getting better and a day outside sounds really good to me. Plan to help on on one or both of these events and get some fresh air and some exercise. Both will be good for you, and the habitat and wildlife along with a bunch of young kids will appreciate you for it. Call 507-360-6027 with any questions.

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