Save the Edges is about retaining edge habitat.
We have all heard the phrase “the ring-necked pheasant is a bird on the edge” – maybe only second to the Hungarian partridge. And, it is true, call it what you want – edge, habitat, riparian areas, buffers. Fact is, the more you have, the more upland game birds you have. Where you have lots of “edge” adjacent to food – you have even more upland birds and an abundance of other important natural benefits.
Naturally-vegetated public roadside ditches and right-of-ways:
- Filter excess nutrients including phosphorous and nitrogen, preventing them from entering our rivers, lakes and groundwater systems.
- Minimize overland flooding by storing, slowing and absorbing excess water, helping to protect roads, culverts and agricultural fields.
- Store thousands of tons of carbon, preventing it from entering the atmosphere.
- Provide homes for pollinators like bees, butterflies, moths and beetles.
- Sustain species that prey on agricultural pests.
- Provide thousands of acres of habitat for grassland-dependent mammals and birds, including pheasants and grey partridge.
Vegetation Management and Haying
While advocating for the elimination of trespass cultivation, we acknowledge that vegetation management of roadside ditches is necessary. Periodic grazing or haying of roadside ditches is important for vegetation management and in times of extreme drought. When this management is necessary, producers should wait until after July 15 to ensure birds have finished nesting.