As waterfowl season comes to a close I hope you were able to make some pleasurable memories at Duck Creek this fall. The wood ducks did us a favor this year and helped sustain the harvest for the first part of the season. As the mallards started trickling in Old Man Winter threatened to lock things up with ice, but then backed off until the last two days. Overall, I wouldn’t say this was a record breaking year for Duck Creek, but considering Unit A and B were closed, it wasn’t too bad either. I know I had a couple good days in the field and I hope you were able to as well.
During this fall I’ve focused my blog posts on the bottomland timber, partner activities, and an analogy of how the various parts of the renovation remind me of refurbishing a house. As with most of my home improvement projects, they don’t always go as planned. Something always comes up, that I didn’t quite expect. Likewise, the construction in Unit A and B this fall has thrown us a few curveballs. We were really hoping to be done before it got too wet. In September and October the contractors were really moving, but when the November rains set in, they had no choice but to stop. Over the next two months there was not a single week that was totally dry (Figure 1). Duck Creek received over 15 inches, most of which fell in November. During this time of year with the cool temperatures and lack of plant growth drying out is a slow process.
What had been accomplished prior to the rain in Unit A and the northern part of Unit B was the bulk of the dirt work, along with the installation of most of the water control structures (Figures 2 and 3). There still are a few spots that still need to be finished up in the north section and a little more progress needs to be made on the south side of McGee Creek before the finishing work commences. Despite not being mulched or seeded prior to the wet weather, the work site hasn’t suffered too much erosional damage. The levees have held and the scours are draining. The contractors will move back in once the working conditions improve and keep chipping away at their punch list.
I’ll admit that am a little disappointed that the work wasn’t completed before the fall rains hit, but that is literally water under the bridge. In the coming year, we will finish up the work in Unit A and B and hopefully start on the next stage of the renovation. This spring we should have plenty of water in Pool 1 and will try to knock back the lotus in the summer. Next fall we should be able to hunt in Units A and B, along with Pools 2, 3, and 8. Any new construction work will primarily focus on the edges of the area like Field 1 and the fish ponds tract. I can’t say whether or not these new project areas will be complete by waterfowl season, but I’m definitely going to push for it. Thank you for your patience in 2011, I think we’ve really begun to turn the corner with our renovation work at Duck Creek. I think 2012 holds a lot of promise. Thank you again for your interest and support.