Summer Break? Not at Duck Creek
Over the past few months we’ve laid out our plans, checked workloads, and set our goals. Weather permitting, we will put boots on the ground and continue with the wetland renovation at Duck Creek this summer. A couple of these projects still have a few procedural hurdles to navigate through such as Commission approval and the bid process, but other jobs can move forward and keep us plenty busy in the meantime. The good news is, that for the first time in a couple years, I don’t foresee the summer work hindering the number of waterfowl hunting positions we will be able to provide this fall in Units A and B or Pools 2 and 3.
With the good news out of the way, here are the nitty-gritty details.
We have some minimal dirt work in Units A and B this year. This involves some work that couldn’t be a part of the original contract. Additionally, there a few fixes and some tweaks that will be made since we’ve had a year to see how the new wetland design operates. Overall, these changes won’t be apparent to the average observer, but will benefit the overall function and maintenance of the area.
Later in the summer, we will be doing renovation work up at the Greenbriar Unit. This will be similar to what we’ve done in Units A and B by taking advantage of existing topography, restoring sloughs, and removing obstructions to sheetflow. Unlike Units A and B this area will still rely only on precipitation and the Castor River to opportunistically flood habitat.
Dirt work on the fishponds, field 1, C blind, and spoil pile removal in Pools 2 and 3 will occur next year.
With the dirt work coming to completion in Units A and B, we will focus on our plant management and restoration in key locations.
- Higher elevations along McGee Creek: These trees will increase the riparian zone which is important for streambank stabilization and water quality.
- Higher elevations along the perimeter road: These trees will help provide a visual buffer to minimize the disturbance traffic has on migratory waterbirds.
- Small plantings within the pool: Water tolerant trees will enhance future structural diversity, provide wintering waterfowl with thermal cover, and establish clumps of hunting cover for fall hunters.
- In other locations, in Units A and B we will continue the aquatic plant restoration within our flooded sloughs that we started last year.
Moist Soil Management
- We will continue our drawdowns and monitor our annual plant production and keep the undesirable species like cocklebur, false aster, reed canary grass, and Bermuda grass in check.
- In locations where disturbance is needed to set back success and promote annual plants next year, food plots will be planted to provide food and cover for this fall.
Area around Pool 1
Pool 1 will also be an emphasis area this summer.
- Little River Drainage District (LRRD) will be coming back in and resloping the ditch banks along the periphery of Pool 1. Previously, they had cleaned out the ditch, but needed to wait for the spoil to dry out before resloping the banks. When LRRD starts their work, the west side of Pool 1 will be closed to traffic until they move up the ditch.
Enhancing Access for Fisherman
- We will be adding two fishing docks, one on either side of the lake for bankline fishing opportunity.
- We will be adding a couple of courtesy docks to help with unloading and trailering fishing boats on the two south boat ramps. These boat ramps will be temporarily closed when this work is being done.
- Additionally, we will be performing multiple herbicide treatments to improve angler access within Pool 1.
Thank you for your support
All in all the dirt work, plant work, and enhancement to public use will keep the Duck Creek Renovation moving forward. Right now the timeline is still of this work is fluid. We will provide additional updates on the blog or at the Duck Creek office of any temporary road closures or detours. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding. Hope you all can get out and enjoy the area this summer.