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March Madness

Published on: Mar. 13, 2012

While most folks may think that March Madness only applies to the NCAA basketball tournament. Here are a few reasons it could apply to Duck Creek CA as well.

Fish

At this time of year it is really hard to stay indoors when the sun is shining. Pool 1 is open, and the emergent vegetation hasn’t broken the water’s surface yet. With a few more warm days, the bluegill and crappie will really start hitting; however, I’ve already heard a few reports that folks haven’t been disappointed with what they are reeling in.

Plants

The mild temperatures and recent rains have ushered in an early spring. The maples have already blossomed with the redbuds close behind. It won’t be long before the forest overstory will take on a green hue as leaf-out begins. With the ensuing warm conditions, folks will soon start scouring the forest floor for the first crop of mushrooms.

Herptiles

The amphibians and reptiles, also known as herptiles, have also responded to the weather. Red-eared sliders can be seen basking on the logs along the edges of the pool…and crossing the road, so please watch out and steer clear of these slow critters. The recent rains have also flooded up small isolated pools within the higher portions of the timber. This is where the spotted salamanders and mole salamanders start collecting in order to meet and greet and create the next generation.

Waterfowl

In the previous two posts I’ve already mentioned the waterfowl activity on the area, but I’ll state it again. Dabbling and diving ducks are scattered throughout the area looking sharp as they rest and refuel before continuing on their spring migration. Canada geese and white-fronted geese are also out and about and can be seem loafing on the area. Finally, the colorful plumage of Missouri’s own breeding waterfowl can be seen as hooded mergansers and wood ducks dart through the wooded sloughs near their nesting cavities.

Ditch/Road Activity

Whether it is to do some bird watching, go fishing or just take in the sights, you may see some activity on Ditch 1 as you make the turn at Pool 1’s southwest corner. The road and ditch bank on the west side of Pool 3 has been in disrepair over the last few years. We have started to address this problem with the help of the Little River Drainage District. Over the last two weeks they have been peeling back the ditch bank so that it will be easier to maintain and less likely to sluff back into the ditch.

Later this summer they will continue to work north along the western perimeter of Pool 1. At this time they are just working next to Pool 3, so re-routing traffic isn’t necessary. However, once LRDD does move north we will have to re-route traffic for a couple weeks to make sure we stay out of their way. We will have signs posted at this time, but wanted to give you a heads up.

NAWCA Activity

The renovation work in the basin has been made possible through the help of partners and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). During the last few years we have focused on the scope of work lined out in our first NAWCA grant proposal, Mingo Basin Partnership I (MBP I).

Early last year Mingo National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and Ducks Unlimited (DU) submitted a proposal for work farther south in the basin. They too were approved for their grant (MBP II). Currently, they are working on engineering plans for their scope of work.

Following Mingo’s grant approval, MDC submitted another proposal to NAWCA last summer. Last week, the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission met and gave their final approval of this third grant. Our engineers are working hard to finish the plans for this next stage so that we can continue to push forward.

As you can see, by taking turns with Mingo NWR and working with our other partners, such as Ducks Unlimited, we have been able to give the Mingo Basin the attention that it has needed to address the aging infrastructure and improve our management capabilities. These efforts will help us ensure the continued value and use of this bottomland wetland system and the resources that rely on it.

Madness indeed

No matter what your interest, if you like the outdoors, there is probably something on Duck Creek that will tickle your fancy. March is a great time of year and things are definitely busy. Thank you for your continued patience and support over the last few years as we continue the renovation work. I hope you can get out and enjoy the area as March looks like it is going to be beautiful month.

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Comments

On April 3rd, 2012 at 7:01pm cordek said:

Bandtaker, It is up to the contractor at this point to resume work.  The MDC contract supervisor is in contact with the contractor and is encouraging work to resume. We will post updates when they occur.

On April 3rd, 2012 at 6:52pm cordek said:

Darin, Yes it is an option.  Creating less disturbance around the Pool 1 refuge has been and remains a goal as outlined in our management plan.  Implementing this goal hinges on providing vehicle access elsewhere.  Vehicle access hinges on getting the roadwork finished around Pool 3 and this particular portion of the Duck Creek renovation has been most exasperating.  I am not sure if it will be done this year, but we are definitely moving closer.

On April 3rd, 2012 at 5:05pm Bandtaker1 said:

ANY UPDATES ON THE WORK NOT IN PROGRESS AT DUCK CREEKS UNIT A AND UNIT B???

On March 30th, 2012 at 12:15pm Darin said:

Just throwing that out there Keith, I know alot of hunter will be wondering themselves as the season draws nearer. Is there still an option for making the entire Pool 1 a refuge for ducks and geese and eliminating the traffic around the pool during season? Thanks!!

On March 29th, 2012 at 1:07pm cordek said:

Worst case scenario is not something I even want to contemplate at this point!  We will have a lot of dry wortking time this summer and it is in the contractor's best financial interest to get in, get the job done, then get out.  I am positive we will have something to work with this fall for hunting opportunity. 

On March 29th, 2012 at 12:32pm Darin said:

Worst case scenario: If we do get alot of rain this year to prevent the contractors from finishing up this summer, will there still be an option to hunt these units this year? Thanks!!

On March 28th, 2012 at 5:26pm cordek said:

The contract construction supervisor arrived back on site today.  He is inspecting the project area and making preparations to resume construction activity.  There are some areas where structure work can commence right now, however, there is much of the area that needs dewatered.  Some of these areas will not be accessible until later this spring or early summer. 

On March 28th, 2012 at 8:27am MattB said:

Bandtaker, not much has happened in Unit A/B since we posted our end of the year wrap.  I would expect dirt work to resume in earnest early this summer.  Things are still a little wet to do the dirt work that we need done.  Some of the projects that need to be done to finish include several structures installed, levees finished and seeded, the main structure/bridge installed on the south side of Unit A, and then several other small touch-ups...Once we get the levees done, then we have to get the electric run out to all the wells.  Trust me when I tell you that no one wants this project done more than myself, Keith, and Frank.  We are doing everything we can to keep this project online and on track!  Once we get the contractors back onsite and working we'll be updating the blog as much as possible. 

On March 27th, 2012 at 9:23pm Bandtaker1 said:

On March 26th I drove out to the combined A and B Unit and saw no evidence of ANY dirt work or work of ANY KIND going on. Do you have some updates as to what is being done? What EXACTLY is left to finish WHERE in A and B Unit? Would like the Teal and Duck season to proceed in those areas THIS year instead of whenever.

On March 25th, 2012 at 8:56pm Darin said:

Do you have any pictures of what the A and B units are looking like since all the recent rains and warmer weather? Thanks!!

On March 19th, 2012 at 5:33am Anonymous said:

March madness at Duck Creek is always fun when it's this warm. Can you possibly re-post your signs reminding drivers of larger boats that motors over 10hp are idle only. Lots of us fishing this weekend and saw several boats driving around the channels and center of lake well over idle (no wake) speed. One young man fishing in a small jon boat in the channel took an unfortunate swim. Saturday evening had young man in jet style boat trying to spray friends on bank with water. If you can't post larger signs maybe some occassional presence of agents on weekends? Just a note to bank fisherman too cottonmouths are out on rocks.

On March 14th, 2012 at 9:20pm MattB said:

I completely agree that one of the most important roles of our wetland areas is to provide critical habitat for spring migrating waterfowl.  However, different management strategies may warrant the removal of water from some wetland units prior to the passing of spring migrant waterfowl.  Also remember that an open structure with water coming out of a unit does not necessarily mean that the manager is completely dewatering a unit.  Sometimes drawing down units partially will help concentrate invertebrates into shallow portions of the pools, and if you watch the ducks are concentrating in these extremely shallow pools.  Another reason to draw down a unit is to get water off of the trees prior to leaf out.  This is being done at Duck Creek in Pools 2 and 3 as we get the water off the trees so that we can reduce the stress on these trees.  However, in the north end of Pool 2 we are able to leave water in the open areas of the unit for the waterfowl and still get the water off the trees with a simple partial drawdown.  Another reason would be if mangers plan to do some early disturbance to a unit or perhaps they want to plant some food plots in a unit.  Often times units are singled out by the manager for these types of management if vegetation has not responded to drawdowns in the previous year.  Sometimes you have to sacrifice a unit for one spring in order to make better habitat out of it in years to come (much like burning a prairie grass field in the spring).  Finally, with spring comes excess rains, so managers need to be careful not to allow units to overflow after a large rain event.  So sometimes, managers will open structures in anticipation of a big rain event.  Like anything in life be careful not to judge the decisions of managers too quickly.  Many times you can simply talk to the manager of the area and they will offer you a good reason for their actions.

On March 14th, 2012 at 8:04pm Anonymous said:

I think that one of the most important roles of a MDC wetland area is providing rest and food for spring migrating waterfowl. But some areas are being completely dewatered. Why is this?

On March 14th, 2012 at 7:22pm Larry said:

I remember back when we took field trips from U.M.K.C. to catch cottonmouths there,cool place,even has cypress trees like Texas
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