Inquiring minds want to know what is going on with the renovations at Duck Creek this summer. Below is a description of items that have been accomplished and other plans that will move forward as the summer progresses.
The weather this spring and summer has reflected how wetlands typically operate, swaying from one extreme to the next. We’ve swayed back and forth between wet and dry conditions as summer heat gives way to healthy downpours of rain, then back to sweltering heat. Needless to say this isn’t exactly a dream for construction on a wetland site. The work this summer is focused on finishing up the contract that was started last summer.
One of the objectives of the renovation was to accommodate the multiple public uses that occur on Duck Creek. Last year and this spring, multiple footbridges were installed to help provide access to different portions of Duck Creek. Another completed task that accommodates public use is the three pull-over parking spaces on the south side of Pool 2.
There are several other projects that began last summer that could not be completed due to the wet conditions and will be wrapped up this year as working conditions improve. Contract work is currently underway where the old fish ponds used to exist. The contractors have taken out the steep intersecting cross levees and tied into the historic broad depression that runs through the site to improve the wetland habitat potential and waterfowl hunting opportunity.
Further south on Highway 51 near Kinder, the formerly fallow fields and rice field have been merged to tie into similar elevations. Like the old fish ponds site, this renovation work is establishing a gradient of shallow water habitats across a larger connected area. Although the construction work is only halfway complete the subsequent rain, soil moisture, and time has shown that this strategy has great promise. Already a range of wetland plants have germinated and grown as the shallowly ponded rain water evaporates and recedes to expose moist mudflats. The same can be said for the ephemeral basins constructed north of Thompson’s Ridge where toothcup, mud plantain, millet, and spike rush are a few of the wetland plants that can be seen in the shallow water.
As the construction crew works their way around the perimeter of Duck Creek they will also tie up the loose ends on the north side of Pool 1 by completing the low water crossings as conditions dry out. The last site that they’ll visit is the field just west of the McGee parking lot. Similar to the other locations, the contractors will enhance the field’s ability to have a range of wetland plants and provide habitat for critters like migratory waterfowl, crayfish, and amphibians.
Despite the back and forth weather progress is being made, access to the area is improved, and promise of the future wetland habitat can be seen. Thank you for your interest in Duck Creek. As waterfowl season gets closer we’ll provide another update on the construction status.