Post and photo by Kathy Whaley
If we build it, will they come? We hope so! The Hagerman Refuge/Ducks Unlimited wetlands restoration project has started. In mid-December, Refuge employees Jay and Rusty set elevation posts and began using heavy equipment to move dirt to elevations that will allow us to manage the water level in MSU 10.
This is the first of three impoundments that will eventually be restored to provide emergent wetlands for ducks. When completed, the three wetland areas (surrounded by dikes) on the northwest side of Wildlife Drive will be floodable to 12” - 18” deep and have gently sloping bottoms and properly placed water control structures. Our goal is to attract dabbling ducks such as mallards, pintail, teal, shovelers, and gadwall who paddle around in shallow water searching for seeds, insects, and small aquatic invertebrates to eat.
Once completed, a new pump (recently ordered by Ducks Unlimited) located on Big Mineral Creek will provide a reliable water source through underground pipe that will allow flooding of all wetlands on both sides of Wildlife Drive for almost a mile. This will ensure that ducks arriving for the winter have shallow water to land on. Our hope is that - long term - more ducks will find Hagerman a good place to spend the winter and the numbers will increase.
Note: Free pamphlets on wildlife including the wintering ducks and geese are available at Refuge Headquarters during office hours. For more information about Hagerman NWR please see http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/texas/hagerman/index.html and for information about acitivities and events of the Friends of Hagerman, visit http://www.friendsofhagerman.com.
Kathy Whaley is the Refuge Manager at Hagerman NWR.