A look at the coming year: Challenges and Opportunities at Duck Creek
of structures between the Cato Levee and Pool 1) should increase our efficiency to store an adequate water supply for multiple uses during most years. With this in mind, the summer of 2010 was the third driest since 1950 and should be considered the extreme event and not the norm.
Pools 2 and 3:
Drilling wells for Pools 2 and 3 has been discussed at length for many years. It would relieve us from relying on Pool 1 as a water source. The price of installation of multiple wells (at least 6) along with the long term costs of operation and maintenance of these wells is a definite concern. Depletion of the aquifer by over-utilization of wells is also a point of contention with this approach and has been experienced in areas not far from here. Also, there is a lot of uncertainty about the long term health effects to trees that are flooded with mineral laden water.
In the past 10 years, we have really progressed with our understanding and management of bottomland hardwood timber as we’ve focused on recruitment requirements and the flood tolerance of different species. Flood timing and duration can negatively affect the species composition and can ultimately destroy the very resources that make these habitats attractive to waterfowl and great for hunting. Allowing for variability in flood timing among years will allow these wetlands to function more naturally and will benefit the long-term timber health. The existing water system (Ditch 111 and Pool 1) is adequate to do this without the extra expense and concerns that come along with wells.
Unit A and B:
Unit A and Unit B is our moist soil habitat, which is used by early migrating waterfowl and provides our best hunting opportunity early in the season. In our renovation plans we are utilizing two new wells, the existing wells, and incorporating water from the surrounding watershed to flood habitat early in the fall when water is limited. By reconfiguring the size and location of levees and using the impoundment’s topography we will be making the most of our flooded habitat. Not only will this allow us to extend the amount of habitat and hunting opportunities within Unit A and B, but it will also decrease the amount of maintenance and repair needed over time. During the course of waterfowl season, resources and habitat needs change for waterfowl. Later in the season is when the timber becomes more important and will provide waterfowl resources and hunting opportunity at Duck Creek.
I hope this helps explains some of the challenges and how we are trying to make the most of what we have in terms of finances and infrastructural limitations. Our team is very excited and passionate about the area and are looking forward to this summer’s work. I hope you are too. Thank you for your interest.