Duck Creek CA UpdatesMore posts

Recharging the ole batteries

Nov 10, 2011

I love this time of year: the squeals, whistles and squeaks of the morning wood ducks zipping through the canopy, the potential for a great day in the field and the opportunity for a great waterfowl season to come. I don’t know about you, but this recharges my batteries.

To state the obvious, we’ve had some weather blow through during the last couple of days. Duck Creek received 4 inches of rain and much cooler temperatures. This definitely added some water to the landscape and brought some new birds into the region.

Units A and B:

Although the contractors are still out in units A and B working, the recent rain will definitely slow them down a bit. Until they call it quits, we will not be able to put any parties out there. Even then, I suspect the success to be limited. The dirt work prevented any vegetation management directed towards providing waterfowl foods. To date, there have been very little waterfowl us even with various pockets of water showing.

The Castor River:

The Castor River didn’t get up high enough to overtop the levees at Dark Cypress, but the rain definitely added some additional sheet-water to the area. The river did get up high enough for us to use the new Cato structure for the first time in two years. We opened the gate yesterday and are directing water down Ditch 111 and are diverting it in Pool 1. It is a pleasant site to see Castor water rolling down the ditch towards Duck Creek.

Pool 1:

Since we have already flooded Pool 2 and much of Pool 3, any water we capture will help us recharge Pool 1. In the next few weeks, we’ll release this newly captured water to begin to flood Pool 8. As the season goes on and more rains follow, we’ll repeat the drill and incrementally refill Pool 1. In a sense, you could say these rains will help recharge Duck Creek’s batteries.

Well, that is all for now. Good luck this weekend and stay safe.


Any progress with fixing the rice levee in Field 1? And is Mingo planning on letting the water out of the wade and shoot to repair something? Is Unit A opening up any time this year? I am sure with all the rain NO WORK is being done there at this time.

If you go back to the main Duck Creek blog page and scroll down, on September 28th we posted this year’s mast survey.  In short, it looks like we had another good year of acorns.

How was this years acorn crop? Look forward to doing some pool 8 wading, almost as excited for pool 8 to open as I was for opening day. And by the way DC has been much more exciting this year with all the spots available, without reservations, everyone having a fair chance at the draw.

otter slough can hold 44,000 on 4,500 acres while mingo with all its diversity holds 19,000 birds on 10,000 plus acres of duck habitat ? .i believe in moist soils and habitats other than row crops, but i think you need to look back more than ten years. if i am not mistaken it was about the mid nineties that the creek started to fall off, about the same time that mingo started a more "natural" approach. im sure mingo is in better hands now but i can't help but be depressed when i see less than 100 birds using company farm. especially when the creek has no fields in use and the only refuge is pool 1. monoply must be awesome because the birds are not leaving it.

That is our intention. We've still got a lot of ground to cover, but that is the plan.

Thanks for the answers. So next year units A and B will be back in buisness or will they still be under construction?

Over the last 3 years, Mingo has done a wonderful job of drying things out in Monopoly and Rockhouse during the growing season for moist soil production and to control the American lotus. This strategy, combined with managing shallow water depths more appropriately for foraging waterfowl in the fall, has been reflected in bird use. Because of the 2011 spring flood, the spring draw down of Company Farms and other areas on the refuge was delayed, which affected the plant responses in different locations.  Mingo staff continuously monitors the units and spray, disk, mow, or plant millet to combat the cocklebur and other undesirable wetland plants. I can’t speak for all of these smaller units, but I did personally sample the moist soil in Unit 3. It looked great. There was a diverse stand of millet, smartweed, and sedges throughout the pool; ideal duck food. Also Moist Soil Unit 2N was planted to Japanese millet later in the season and was coming on strong in September as the Mingo staff irrigated it to help the grass mature. There are other great foods, such as toothcup, that can grow under the cocklebur. Toothcup is an annual and thrives after late spring or summer drawdowns. Toothcup provides approximately 600 pounds of duck food per acre, which was found growing this season in some of the units and Rockhouse. If the cocklebur would be sprayed or mowed, it would negatively affect the toothcup in the unit as well. The advantage of having many different units is to provide food or habitat during various stages of waterfowl and shorebird migration. There is no need to flood all of the units simultaneously and some are also dependent on whether the seed sources have matured. Other than the moist soil units, there is other habitat and food available in Monopoly, Rockhouse, and Duck Creek. What is different between the two areas, is that Mingo relies primarily on rainfall to flood, whereas MDC has Pool 1 to store water for the fall. At Mingo, the water levels in the ditches also control some of the units' ability to hold water. The recent rains have helped Mingo’s situation out in this regard.  If you drive through the refuge now, you will see some of the units being flooded and there are plans to flood the other units and Pool 8 soon. Additionally, I looked at Mingo’s current numbers compared to the last 10 years. Their last count was just under 20,000 ducks and these numbers have improved with last week’s weather. Mingo’s 10 year average for this time of year is considerably lower with only 9,500 ducks on average. Despite having a delayed migration this year, Mingo’s habitat and waterfowl numbers are looking pretty good and should continue to improve as the season progresses. Also, Mingo has a Facebook page in case you want to stay informed on what is going on at at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge.

All the positions at Duck Creek are flooded which can be so the rain will not add any new ones.  There are currently 30 positions between Pools 2 and 3, the three field positions, and two positions in Pool 1 which are available 4 days per week.  Mingo may start flooding Pool 8 this week or next but whenever they decide, we will have water to start flooding.  We have been capturing all the Ditch 111 water and some from the Castor river this past week and can let it go when we get the word.  Dark Cypress may increase from 2 postions to 4 or 6 if we receive substantial rainfall and definitely if the diversion channel overtops the levees.  The contractors are still rolling along in Units A and B installing water control structures and preparing to start pouring concrete for the main outlet structure.

I was wondering how many positions are going to be available this weekend if we get some rain. Thanks.

could someone recharge mingo's batteries! company farm is a joke, unless you like cockaburrs. no food and very little water in spots that should hold birds. although there seems to be plenty of food plots for the deer. the least they could do is fill the pools, that are intended for ducks, with water. on the plus side rockhouse marsh did look good

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