Duck Creek CA UpdatesMore posts

Greenbrier Unit Update: Duck Creek Renovation

Oct 22, 2014

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:

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.

Field 2:

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.

 Field 3:

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. 

Current Status:

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.  

greenbrier_field1.jpg

Greenbrier Unit’s, Field 1
Greenbrier Unit’s, Field 1
An aerial and plan view of dirt work occurring on Field 1 at Greenbrier that will enhance the wetland habitat by slowing and spreading out water.

greenbrier_field2.jpg

Greenbrier Unit’s, Field 2
Greenbrier Unit’s, Field 2
An aerial and plan view of dirt work occurring on Field 2 at Greenbrier that ties into the high ground and enhances the field’s wetland depression.

greenbrier_field3.jpg

Greenbrier Unit’s, Field 3
Greenbrier Unit’s, Field 3
An aerial and plan view of the dirt work occurring on Field 3 at Greenbrier that mimics natural wetland features to pond shallow water habitat.

Comments

The unit will have one party.  Next year, if the ADA blind is not reserved, this position will be available in the morning draw.

I have a question about the addition of an ADA blind to field 16. Will the entire field become the field for the ADA blind or will it be separated into two tracts 16 and the ADA blind?

Prior to construction, Greenbrier was an open area where folks could walk in without going through the draw. The plan is to maintain this status once the construction is finished.  Opportunity would depend upon local precipitation or flooding, but it would be another option.  

I realize that Greenbrier is not ready, I only was curious how the positions would be distributed when the area was ready to hunt.

Frank, I "tip my hat" to you for such nice responses to some of the questions. People act like you are the one making the choices at Duck Creek. I don't know that I could respond so professionally. Don't you miss fishing questions??

The 2 inch soil temperature on October 22 in Cape ranged between 67.3 - 48.5 degrees. With air temperatures reaching 80 degrees this weekend, I imagine trees won't be the only plants continuing to grow. As in years past the wildlife biologist and forester keep tabs on the weather and trees in the fall to decide when and at what elevation to add water to Pools 2 and 3. 

Greenbrier construction is not complete, therefore it is still closed similar to the year Units A and B were in the middle of their construction during the hunting season. If things get right down soggy, we may see if we can work with the contractor and allow access, but it would be wide open water and mud. 

The ADA blind is the highest priority for blinds to be replaced. As for any others, we’re not there yet as there are several irons in the fire. Access to 18 will be what it has been the last 2 years. 

Does this mean when construction is complete, hunters may use this area as they please ( so long as within the state's regulations)? i e no drawing

The weather service reported the temperature as 35 degrees this morning. Who would be in charge of checking on what the temp was at duck creek on a daily basis and how often are the "baby Oak Trees" checked for the right conditions to start flooding pool 2 and 3?

If you read through your comments last year it was stated that "a few of the blinds in A and B unit would be replaced". Not just an ADA blind. Is there a plan to do just that? Will a boat be provided to access 18 in A unit?

I’ll admit this renovation has taken longer than I anticipated, but that is the way it has gone.  The work in Units A and B was first and the construction began in 2011. Looking back at my records, we had the design plans for the first phase done in 2010 and that’s when we moved on to this second phase and started planning for Greenbrier.  As we’ve said before, we wanted to see how things developed in Unit A before plunking an ADA blind in a random spot.  That is how it happened. I hope that helps.

Greenbrier is an open hunting unit because it relies on opportunistic flooding. At this point it will remain as such.  

It seems sort of odd that funds/resources we allocated for THIS project, yet there is still no ADA blind at Duck Creek...

When the construction work is complete, how will the positions at Greenbrier be distributed and on what intervals?

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