Duck Creek CA UpdatesMore posts

Watered-down Success

Mar 03, 2011

Well, the rain finally came … about four months late in some respects, but it came. This last weekend’s rain was the most precipitation Duck Creek has received this winter. We received just a shade under 3 inches, while folks 30 miles south of us picked almost twice that much.

Flooded Habitat in Pool 2

As much as it pains me that we didn’t get this precipitation before or during the 60-day waterfowl season, there are still multiple benefits to this last rain event. We were able to take water into Pool 2 through Ditch 104. This flooded the low ground around the A and B Blinds that had remained unflooded through the fall. It just so happened that this is where the moist soil, primarily millet, had remained untouched. This week mallards, pintail, wood ducks and shovelers have found the newly available food resources and are refueling on their way back north. The pulse of water within the pool will allow us to have a drawdown and stimulate the moist soil plants later this summer, which will provide waterfowl food this coming fall.

Functional Spillway and Otter Pond Habitat

We also took water on in Pool 3 via the new eastern spillway. Not only does this structure provide flood relief to those around Kinder, the water going into Pool 3 recharged Otter Pond. This area of cypress, tupelo, and buttonbush is great habitat for breeding Hoodies and Woodies (Hooded Mergansers and Wood Ducks) and other pairing waterfowl that are trying to escape the competition.

Taking Water into Pool 1

The new structure at Ditch 1/111 also worked properly and helped us bump up the water in Pool 1. This fall, Pool 1 was at its lowest in November at 343.4. During most of this fall we had been hanging around 343.7 feet. With this last rain event we were able to bump up the lake level significantly to 344.45 feet.

All of this water has been coming from the immediate watershed and down Brushy and Slagle creeks. Little River Drainage District is less than a week away from reaching the Cato Levee, which will allow us to utilize the new Cato structure and water from the Castor during these high-water events.

At any rate, we’ve begun to recharge Pool 1. This is beneficial for the fish and the birds. Habitat on the north end of the lake is beginning to be flooded again. For spring migrants this shrub-scrub habitat provides cover for paired waterfowl to strengthen their pair bonds and forage in peace on seeds, bugs and snails.

While some might consider this recent rain event as watered-down success because of the delayed arrival, I like to think of the glass (or Pool 1) as half full. Our structures worked, the lake is being recharged and birds are starting their journey back north to recruit for next season. With another rain event this weekend, things are looking up and the critters are active at Duck Creek.

pool_waterflowingin_03-04-11.jpg

Water Flowing Into Pool 1
Water Flowing Into Pool 1
Here is a closer view of water running into Pool 1 from Ditch 111. After this weekend’s rain the pool’s elevation was up almost a foot.

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waterline structure
New Waterline Structure
The new structure at the junction of Ditch 1 and 111 raised the water in the ditch by roughly 8 feet and directed the rain water run-off into Pool 1.

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Photo of ditch cleaning at Duck Creek CA
Dredging Ditch 111
Little River Drainage District is very close to reaching the Cato Levee as they dredge the upper end of Ditch 111.

pool1_shrub_scrub_03-04-11.jpg

Pool1 Shrub Scrub 03-04-11
Pool 1 Shrub-Scrub
Areas with cypress and buttonbush are sometimes referred to as shrub-scrub habitat. These are important areas for waterfowl in the spring.

Comments

Duck Creek area hunting regulations will apply to these new areas, which are primarily open ground/non-forested habitat.  Any special regulations will be posted at the office where you sign in to hunt these units.  Both pieces do have some wetland management capacity and we will be considering our options on utilizing these units for waterfowl hunting this fall.   However, right now our priorities are focusing on getting things lined up for this summer’s construction work so that we can accomplish as much as possible. 

Will the new acreage be huntable this year for say turkeys, squirrels, ducks geese etc...?

Also, just as an update to the original post … As you might have expected, the area received more rain over the weekend and last evening.  We have been taking water into Pool 1 from Ditch 111 during this whole time.  It looks like the elevation of the pool is just under 345.5 feet.  An additional foot of water across 1800 acres is a considerable amount.  This is great news not only for fishing and flooding new habitat, but also for looking down the road at next fall’s waterfowl season.  Full pool is 346 so we’ve almost fully recharged the lake. 

In the past year Ducks Unlimited acquired two tracts of land, consisting of approximately 30.95 acres and 52.63 acres that are located on the east and southeast side of the area.  Duck Creek has an irregular shaped boundary line that weaves back and forth around the adjacent private land owners.  Sometimes management options can be limited because we don’t want to negatively affect our neighbors.  The acquisition and donation of land by DU to MDC will simplify our borderline and allow us to consider different management options.  It is still too early to say what will be done with the new acquisitions, but we will definitely let you know as plans develop.  A special thank you goes out to our partners at Ducks Unlimited for their hard work and assistance with these two tracts.

Pool 3 is 587 acres.  The research plots where the timber stand improvement work was done included 25 acres. As far as the flooding from the recent rain goes, as Ditch 105 has risen, water has flooded the lower portions of the pool.  Once the ditch has dropped, water has also fallen out through the east side spillway structure.  Since this is not during the growing season and the flood duration has been minimal I wouldn’t expect any negative effects to the timber.  The pulsing of flood waters in and out is how these bottomland systems would naturally function.  Spreading the water out through the trees not only helps provide flood relief, but also helps with water quality as the fine sediments drop out through the slow moving water in the vegetation.

The Commision meeting mentioned the donation of several properties to Duck creek. Can you tell us more about them and their location? Thanks

thanks for information

How many acres of woods in Pool 3 were logged out? Will this flooding affect the standing timber in this unit?

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