The Missouri Wetland Bundle

Published on: Oct. 24, 2012

Do you enjoy the constant satellite TV, cable and phone companies trying to get you to switch services for the better deal? Over the last couple years the bundle service has been the “big thing”. You know what I’m talking about, the all-in-one promotion. Well, as we get closer to waterfowl season I thought of another example of a bundle package that may not occur to most folks as they sit out in the open marsh on a cool November morning.

Composite Duck Image

Missouri wetlands could be viewed as a bundle deal because of all of the different species that utilize these habitats through the course of the year. Of course, the ones in your line of sites are the flocks of southerly migrating mallards. However, if you take a closer look at the annual cycle many other critters are in and of the swamp too.

The fine print through the annual cycle

• Winter and Spring

For example, last winter’s wet weather flooded the restored sloughs in Unit A and the cryptically colored purple pirate perch and orange spotted sunfish somehow swam their way into these shallow depressions. In March, I observed several hundred green-wing teal grubbing in the saturated mudflats as they headed back north towards their breeding grounds. A month later, midges emerged from the soggy flats just in time for skittish shorebirds to fill their bellies’ as they continued their transcontinental trek.

• Summer Sun

As the summer heat set in, the water dropped and plants germinated in the moist soil. During this time egrets and raccoons hammered the tadpoles and crayfish along the edges of the evaporating pools of water. Several wayward ospreys also scavenged for food along Pool 1’s perimeter.

• Early Fall

September’s moisture started to saturate the soil and gave the surviving plants a boost and helped set seed for species like millet, sprangletop, toothcup, and smartweed. Along with the cooler temperatures the teal were back again for a brief visit, followed by a raft of pied-billed grebes that could be seen dipping and dunking along the reservoirs boat lanes. As October progressed I’ve seen pintails careening out of the sky to rest and recover within the refuge. Although not nearly as graceful, quite a collection of coots has also assembled on Duck Creek’s open water. All of this will be followed with an all-time record number of migrating mallards making their way through the mid-continent.

Now I don’t care what internet or television bundle you prefer, and perhaps I’m comparing apples to oranges, but just from recollecting some of the critters I’ve seen through the seasons, we’ve got a pretty good package deal in terms of wetland use. We often have ducks on the brain, and rightly we should from November through January, but we shouldn’t underestimate the benefits these habitats provide during the other 305 days of the year.

I hope you have a good season and remember we’ve already got a package deal that doesn’t expire after six months, but continues to be renewed each and every year.

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Comments

On October 27th, 2012 at 8:46am Timberhunter said:

Cordek the blinds im refering to have been gone for some time now, I have just noticed the old boat lanes, one goes out towards the H blinds on the southeast corner and the other is on the northeast corner going towards E blinds. The pull ins to park are still on the road and if you use Google Earth you can still see part of the boat lanes.

On October 26th, 2012 at 2:30pm cordek said:

Future; all the areas you mentioned are sheduled to be developed in the near future.  We are currently in the planning phase and hope to get this work done next year.  We will have a couple of posters showing what has been done and what is left to be done hanging up in the Duck Creek draw room this winter. Stop by and take a look when you get the opportunity.

On October 26th, 2012 at 2:24pm cordek said:

Timberhunter; can you provide a better reference to the blinds you are referring to?  The east side of Pool 2 is mostly high ground that does not flood.  I am not aware of any blinds recently removed from Pool 2.

On October 26th, 2012 at 2:18pm cordek said:

It is still uncertain when Pool 2 will be flooded.  We need some large amounts of rain to begin recharging Pool 1 reservoir. We will continue assessing the situation through next week.    

On October 25th, 2012 at 6:18pm Future said:

What are the plans in the near future for the fish ponds, the rice field, fields 1&2 and the area to the north of a1 & b. thanks for all that has been done to the area.

On October 25th, 2012 at 6:15pm Timberhunter said:

Why were the two old blinds on the east side of pool 2 taken out. There appears to be plenty of room for them

On October 25th, 2012 at 8:15am Anonymous said:

When will any water be added to pool 2, I know you said in a post earlier it would not be much from pool 1, but any water would help. Season is getting close just kinda anxious to see more water
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