Q: What challenges have you faced?
The spring and fall migrations of snow geese, white
fronts and ducks increase the demand for food sources
from wildlife, which can be a challenge for growing and
harvesting crops. Flocks of blackbirds and herds of deer
always seem hungry.
Reclaiming marshland has significant
costs and difficulties, too. Building and maintaining
canal dikes and infrastructure of irrigation systems is
costly and time consuming. Adjacent landowners could be
affected by seepage and crop damage, including increased
Q: In what ways to do you work
directly with Ron Cole? How would you describe your
relationship with the refuges?
As a member of the Lease Land Advisory
Board and the Klamath Water Users Board, I deal with
issues connected to the refuge system, not to mention
the refuge borders my main ranch on three sides.
I appreciate the experience Ron Cole
has brought to the Klamath Basin Refuges by maintaining
clear objectives in his administration. I understand
this is a two way street; via cooperation, positive
change can be developed that benefits everyone.
Q: How do you see agriculture
affecting the refuges? What are the benefits and
Agriculture’s investment in equipment
and manpower coupled with the knowledge of how to get
things done in a timely fashion can help control weeds,
for example, without the use of chemicals while
providing thousands of acres of cereal grains for
Noxious weeds, which are spreading like wildfire, are a
detriment to both refuge and farm, and work continues
for a good weed abatement policy.
Remnants of the potato crops left in
the field are a highly desired food for migrating geese
and local Canada goose populations. Other wildlife, such
as the sizeable number of deer, are keen to these easy
pickings. Being a good steward of the land is the key to
Q: What difference do you think the
cooperation between farmers and the refuge manager has
When visiting the Walking Wetlands,
conservationists, tourists, hunters or any member of the
public can easily see the positive impacts of the
efforts of agriculturist and refuge management since
this new era of cooperation has taken a foothold. They
will see diversity of wildlife, increased wildlife
numbers, beautiful fields of weed-free, highly
productive farmland, and fresh emerging
The relationship between the refuge and
the community hit a low point in 2001 as the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries
Service attempted to use the Endangered Species Act as a
punitive regulatory hammer. It should be everyone’s
objective to never repeat the insanity of that terrible
Q: What are
your hopes for the future?