St. Croix Falls is a lovely little western Wisconsin town nestled along the banks of the scenic St. Croix River, right across the border from Taylors Falls, MN. In the residential area there resides a darling body of water that homeowners have named Jerusalem Pond. Over the years, the kindhearted citizenry have turned this wetland into a wildlife refuge. A waterfowl “house” was built and a fountain installed to keep water flowing freely in cold temps. Corn is provided, as is straw for bedding in the winter. In short, it’s a safe haven for ducks and geese.
But this year, Jerusalem Pond is under assault by a stealth enemy named DROUGHT. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has this to say:
“Climatologists define drought as a period of abnormally dry and/or unusually hot weather sufficiently prolonged for the corresponding deficiency of water to cause a ‘serious hydrologic imbalance.’ More simply put, too dry and/or too hot for too long. Interpreting what is 'too dry' or what is 'too long' is difficult. What is known is that when a serious hydrologic imbalance occurs in Minnesota, soil moisture reserves, groundwater supplies, lake levels and stream flows are negatively influenced. Water-dependent industries including agriculture, public utilities, forestry, and tourism are profoundly affected. Although droughts are not as sudden as floods, the economic aspects of droughts can be just as significant.”
The problem is so severe in the Land of 10,000 Lakes--and countless wetlands--that a Google search for Minnesota Drought returns 6,700,000 hits! To combat the drought crisis, the DNR has in place a formal Minnesota Statewide Drought Plan.
According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, all of Minnesota is now officially suffering drought conditions.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a cooler and drier than average summer, but their prognostication for the winter was way off, i.e. “colder than normal,” so it’s hoped this one misses the mark as well.
In the meantime, the Upper Midwest hopes and prays for replenishing spring rains.