Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton just announced an ambitious and expensive Minnesota pheasant restoration plan.
Against the backdrop of prairie grass, Governor Mark Dayton recently announced a $100 million Minnesota pheasant restoration plan aimed at boosting slumping pheasant populations in the state along with pheasant hunting opportunities.
Minnesota pheasant hunting is a $100 million industry. However, there is concern that declining pheasant populations are indications of widespread environmental issues in the southern part of the state.
Last year’s pheasant hunting harvest of 153,000 roosters is the lowest in over 30 years. Pheasant hunter numbers are declining along with the bird’s population in Minnesota.
According to Dayton:
I’d like the bring the population back to what it was in my youth. We had 270,000 pheasant hunters in 1961. We have less than one-fourth of that now. We need to make this a priority.
One of the main factors blamed in the declining populations is the loss of habitat, especially spring nesting areas. With increasing prices for corn and soybean, farmers have begun to plant crops on lands that were formerly ideal nesting grounds for pheasant.
The Minnesota pheasant restoration plan would include funding designed to significantly increase the amount of grasslands designed for pheasant spring nesting cover.
Additionally, there are plans to require buffers of grass along rivers and streams and ditches to help keep farm runoff out of the waterways.
Let’s hope that the Minnesota pheasant restoration plan is a success and that pheasant populations rebound in the state.
Not only is this plan aimed at helping pheasants and pheasant hunters, but bees, songbirds, and other important species will benefit as well.