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.
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.
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.
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.