End of July 2013 Update

What A Difference A Year Makes

Published on: Aug. 1, 2013

Back in May we laid out what we were hoping to accomplish this summer. With June and July under our belts we’ve made progress in some areas, but have been held back in others. We’ve still got time to knock a few more things off of our list before September’s teal season gets here and a little more room before November.

Rainy Days

If you’ve just crawled out from under a rock, this year has been totally different from the previous one. I took a look at the 30 year average rainfall and compared it to 2012 and 2013 between the months of April and July. Last year during the drought we only totaled 6.29 inches around Puxico. On a typical year the average rainfall total for this time period is 17.51 inches. This year, rains have been pretty consistent into the summer and we’ve received a total of 24.44 inches. The wet conditions have had their pluses and minuses.

The Pluses

On the “plus” side of the scale we were able to get trees planted and haven’t lost them to drought. If we tried to do that last year, we would have seen a lot of crispy twigs and would have had to do it all over again. The aquatic plants and the moist soil plants have also responded well to the additional moisture and there will be a lot of food available for fall migratory waterfowl. Ducks aren’t the only ones that benefit when wetlands are wet. In a recent survey we picked up twenty-one different species of fish that are using the restored sloughs in Units A and B.

The Minuses

When looking at the “minus” side of the rainy season, the food plots took a hit and were late getting in this year. However, the Japanese millet and milo food plots in Units A and B were finished up on Monday and staff will be moving to Dark Cypress as soon as it is accessible with a tractor. In a perfect world we would have started the construction tweaks in Units A and B at the beginning of July. However, our timetable was delayed a little here too, but we have begun to chip away at our list. Last week we fixed a couple water control structures and will begin to move a little dirt once we dry out from this latest rain. Now that we’ve got the ball rolling, we’ll try to keep the inertia moving in the right direction.

Teal Season

Some of the water control structure fixes will temporarily dictate where we will be able to flood up for teal season. At this point in time, we don’t know how many acres we will be able to provide, but should have a better handle on that in the next couple of weeks. What I can tell you is that the northern portion of Pool 1 will be open to hunting and there will be pools in Units A and B open as well. Construction has started on the headquarters building, but will not be finished in September; therefore, we won’t have a morning draw and the positions will be allocated by a self check-in system.

Well, that is all for now. Thanks for checking in to see what’s going on. We appreciate the interest and support.

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On August 16th, 2013 at 8:15am frank said:

Darin, there hasn’t been the opportunity to get up in the air as of late.  However, I believe if we did that you wouldn’t be able to see much of the water.  It would look like a sea green.  The moist soil is pretty darn thick and the water has been shallow and just irrigating all of the native vegetation overhead.

On August 15th, 2013 at 7:38pm Darin said:

Do you have any aerial pictures of the area since all the rains? Thanks for your response!!

On August 15th, 2013 at 9:34am Anonymous said:

Just one suggestion. Blind Y-1 needs to be moved straight back into tree line for cover. Present location much too open. (as of Dec. 2012)

On August 14th, 2013 at 8:37am cordek said:

We haven't conducted any official acorn surveys yet.  Usually we do this in September.  It is still a little early to tell for sure what overall production looks like, but preliminary inspections indicate a moderate to good year for acorns.  We will post official surveys in 4 to 6 weeks.

On August 14th, 2013 at 8:25am cordek said:

AA2 and AA3 old blinds are removed.  The new ones are built and the support footings are in place.  We now need only to transport the finished blinds and attach them to the foundations.  Hopefully this will be finished next week!

On August 13th, 2013 at 11:26am Darin said:

Hi guys, How did the acorns do this year in Pool 2, 3, and 8? I might have missed an update but figured I would ask anyway.......keep up the good work and thanks for your response.

On August 12th, 2013 at 8:54pm Anonymous said:

Any progress on replacing blinds AA2 & AA3? Have the old blinds been torn down yet?

On August 12th, 2013 at 5:32am leseR said:

After a Google search, I came across your blog. It was very informative. Great article!

On August 9th, 2013 at 5:34pm cordek said:

Pool 2 will likely not be a teal hunting area by Septmeber 7.  We need to disc portions of the north area as well as the blind openings prior to waterfowl season.  The water will have to recede to accomplish this task.  If by some chance we can get the ground worked up and receive enough rain to flood again prior to teal season, it will be considered.  Altering the path water can be delivered to Pool 2 from Pool 1 is a priority item for the Phase 2 renovation wortk to allow some attractive early wetland habitat on the ground between A1, B1, and E1 where holding a little water is not severely harmful to surrounding timber. This will allow the area to prepared and then flooded prior to teal season and should offer some decent hunting opportunity.

On August 9th, 2013 at 5:12pm cordek said:

Rainfall measured at the gauge at Duck Creek HQ: Monday, Aug 5= 3.75" Tuesday, Aug 6 = 1.5" Wednesday, Aug 7 = 0.5" Friday, Aug 9 = 1.0" Precipitation amounts have varied widely across the area.  These amount are what was measured at the HQ and recorded on the day they were emptied.  

On August 9th, 2013 at 10:50am Anonymous said:

I noticed there was a lot of water in Pool 2. Will any part of pool 2 be included for hunting opportunities during the teal season?

On August 8th, 2013 at 9:11am cordek said:

By design, Units A and B will always hold a certain amount of water, even during the drought last summer.  Water is currently being held in approximately 100 acres of scours and other low spots, as of August 7th.

On August 7th, 2013 at 6:30pm Anonymous said:

Would like to ask if any water is being held in 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 in A Unit and 52, 53, 54, and 55 in B unit and if so how much would you estimate there to be as of August 7th. Approximate percentage or acreage would be great. This has nothing to do with the other question someone asked about how much rain DC got thank you.

On August 7th, 2013 at 7:50am frank said:

Since the amount of rain is going to increase through the day and possibly continue through the rest of the week, I'll post a total accumulation on Friday.

On August 7th, 2013 at 5:13am Anonymous said:

how much additional rain have you received since last weekend?

On August 6th, 2013 at 12:08pm frank said:

Yes, we’ve captured water from the rain.  There will be and is flooded habitat for early migrants.

On August 6th, 2013 at 12:05pm frank said:

There are several different design of blinds on the area.  Any of which can be found probably on the internet or talking with folks at the local coffee shop.  We don’t have a hard and fast set of plans for the most recent blind constructed on Duck Creek, but are combining elements that we think will work best. 

On August 6th, 2013 at 11:30am Anonymous said:

Is any of the recent rainwater being held in A and B Unit for the fast approaching Teal Season? With cooler weather already happening up north surely there will be some earlier than usual migrations.

On August 6th, 2013 at 9:12am r g trinity said:

can you send me plans for your blinds in the timber pools?

On August 5th, 2013 at 10:19am frank said:

The timing of flooding bottomland timber is more related to forest health and the fall’s weather pattern.  If it continues to be wet, there is a greater likelihood of not fighting the system and allowing water on the trees earlier than later.  However, that doesn’t mean the timbered pools will be at full pool opening day. Lower elevations where the tree species are more flood tolerant may be inundated, provide some flooded food for waterfowl, and early hunting opportunity.  This would also allow us to gradually increase the amount of food throughout migration to match the increasing number of Mallards later in the season.  This approach is better for the red oaks and extends the amount of food and time that it is available for the birds that use the timber.  I hope this explains why a decision on the flooding the timber can’t be made in August.  We’ll have to wait and see how things pan out as we get closer to the season.  The timing of flooding on Pool 8 is up to Mingo NWR. In terms of the amount of water available, this year is totally different from last year and we will have adequate water in Pool 1 to flood Pools 2 and 3.  

On August 5th, 2013 at 10:18am frank said:

The millet looks pretty darn good this year across Duck Creek.  It dominates the open fields in Pool 2 and covers much of Units A and B. The wet weather has really got the grasses cranking. There will be multiple seed crops of millet to boot.  One cohort is seeding out right now and there is another layer of millet below that will seed out in another month.  The added moisture just keeps irrigating it and seems to have kept the sesbania at bay.

On August 5th, 2013 at 10:15am frank said:

As of Monday morning after this weekend’s rain, Pool 1 is above full pool with the water gauge reading 346.25ft.

On August 5th, 2013 at 10:14am frank said:

As I said in the article above, we’ll have a better idea about the distribution of Teal Season opportunities on Duck Creek in a couple weeks.  Sorry, I left Dark Cypress out in the article above…it slipped my mind. Thank you for the reminder. The areas that will be open to hunting will be in the north part of Pool 1, portions of Units A and B, and Dark Cypress.  This will be a self check-in system.

On August 5th, 2013 at 10:14am frank said:

Little River Drainage District ran into some equipment problems over the last few weeks and I haven’t seen any progress lately.

On August 5th, 2013 at 10:13am frank said:

From the time our staff started the J1 blind, it took about 3 weeks to complete.  The blind wasn’t the sole focus during this time as there are other maintenance, management, and monitoring duties that the staff have to balance.  They are currently working on 2 more blinds in Pool 3 to get done before the beginning of waterfowl season. The 4 inches of rain over the weekend will slow progress down on these blinds because access to these locations has suddenly gotten real mucky.

On August 4th, 2013 at 11:51am Anonymous said:

I dont know if this was fully addressed yet, but due to the amount of water this year, will Pools 2 and 3 and even pool 8 get flooded before season this year?

On August 3rd, 2013 at 10:07pm Anonymous said:

Is there quite a bit of millet in the fields this year? Any in pool 2 in the open fields. Keep up the good work fellas

On August 3rd, 2013 at 8:13am Anonymous said:

Can you tell us the current lake level? Any idea how many spots will be open at Duck Creek and Dark Cypress for Teal Season? Has Little River finished smoothing the bank along the west side ditch?

On August 2nd, 2013 at 5:22pm Anonymous said:

How long did it take to complete the new blind at J1?

On August 2nd, 2013 at 2:50pm frank said:

I just wanted to apologize for the temporary lack of a comment box this week.  When a blog post is 30 days old the comment box automatically closes, assuming there are more recent posts for comments to be entered under.  Here is a new entry and an open comment box for your use. Have a good weekend.
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