The Greenbrier Unit of Duck Creek is 460 acres north of Highway C just east of Arab. About 290 acres of this area is in the floodplain of the Castor River adjacent to the Little River Drainage District’s Diversion Channel and he Cato Levee. This area has blocks of timber and open fields and is not managed intensively because of the fluctuation and connection to the Castor River. The planned renovation work considered how water moves off and on the land and tried to increase the topographic diversity, reduce features installed to drain the fields, and provide ephemeral wetland pools that would opportunistically flood from the adjacent hills or when the Castor rises. The dirt work this summer has concentrated on three fields.
Field 1 is just north of Highway C and could potentially pond about 30 acres of wetland habitat. Three field ditches and a cross levee were removed to allow water to spread out and shallowly flood this field. Some creative scours/sloughs have been cut to allow access from the parking lot to the lower elevations in the center of the unit and allow water levels to be managed at a new water control structure. Runoff from the adjacent hills or backwater from the Castor River will flood this habitat.
Just north of Field 1, there is a second small field that has also had some topography work done. The field ditch has been flatted and the dirt work has tied into the existing high ground and enhanced the depression to create a shallow pool, less than a foot deep, of approximately 7 acres.
A little bit further to the east of the other two fields is Field 3. This field contains 50 acres of open and forested habitat and falls just south of the natural high ground along the Castor River. Here again the wetland potential has been enhanced by filling in the old field ditch and enhancing the topography so that the open parts of the fields (10 and 5 acres) will pond more shallow water for an extended period of time. A broad small levee has been constructed on the south side to retain water that might back in from the Castor during a flood event. Two water control structures have been built to allow water to be retained or be removed depending upon the season.
The contractors were still working on the project prior to the rains that occurred during weekend of October 11th and 12th. They are getting close to being complete, but it depends on when they will be able to get back in there with their equipment. Additional work associated with this project will include planting at least 60 acres of trees on the higher ground adjacent to the river to increase the riparian corridor. Next year when the project is complete, the Greenbrier Unit will continue to be a passively managed site, that will opportunistically provide flooded habitat conditions for fish, wildlife, and hunting. The renovation work should enhance the amount, diversity, and duration of this flooded habitat as we move on down the road.