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September Work in Progress: Brought to you by the letter "S"

Published on: Sep. 29, 2010

Salutations, steady progress continues straight through September. Silviculture, soils and structure work have all moved ahead as we’ve sneaked by without most of the state’s significant rainfall in the last two weeks.

Silviculture:
This is the management and science of forest establishment, growth and composition. I thought I’d throw that out there just for a fun fact since it seems to match my theme of several words starting with the letter “S.” Our timber stand improvement work in Pool 3 falls into this category. In the last week the contractors finished cutting in the three study plots in Pool 3. For more information see “Turning a new leaf.”

Soils:
Wetland soils can be highly variable. The Mingo basin was an old Mississippi River channel 14,000 years ago, which means that coarse and fine sediments were scoured and deposited throughout the basin. With the recession of the glaciers the basin became part of a large lake bed. During this time layers of finer sediments were deposited over the coarser riverine soils. After the historic Mingo lake period, the the smaller rivers (Castor and St. Francis) and streams (Brushy, Slagel, Stanley) and earthquakes continued to deposit, scour and mix the basin’s swampy soils.

Today we encounter primarily silty loam soils, with the occasional sand layer or deposit cropping up within the soil profile. This variation of coarse to fine sediments affects a location's ability to hold or discharge water, which affects the plants and potential management of that location.
Above you can see some of the soil cores taken at Duck Creek. The grey coloring in the soil cores is typical for wetland soils. Saturated conditions, microbial activity and the lack of oxygen cause minerals (which contribute to soil's color) have been leached out and concentrated elsewhere in the soil profile. The red stains indicate the movement of iron, while the black nuggets or nodules are concentrations of manganese.

Before we move dirt around next year we wanted to have a better idea of the soil's profile in certain locations so that we could minimize our chances of hitting sand, therefore compromising our ability to hold water. We’ve been working with the NRCS Soil Survey folks to take a closer look at the soils in Units A and B. This work was completed this week. We will start to flood portions of Unit A in preparation for the upcoming waterfowl season.

Structures:
The construction of the Ditch 111 water control structure continues to proceed. Both supporting walls now are up. Next week the gates will be installed.
The two spillways on either side of Pool 3 are also underway. The pad for the west structure has been poured. The east structure was poured today. So suffice it to say, it has been a successful September. I’ll be signing off for now until we have more stories to share.

See ya.

Comments

On October 6th, 2010 at 8:36pm Lacy Washington said:

That's good news that it will be flooded before waterfowl season begins. Very interesting history of Duck Creek
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