Thursday, December 30, 2010

If We Build It...

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 and for information about acitivities and events of the Friends of Hagerman, visit

Kathy Whaley is the Refuge Manager at Hagerman NWR.


  1. In the past, Hagerman NWR has never allowed duck hunting. It has been a TRUE refuge for the ducks and geese. Since you've accepted money from Ducks Unlimited, does that mean that the refuge will now be opened to hunting? I sincerely hope not!

  2. For the wetlands restoration project, Hagerman NWR did not accept money from Ducks Unlimited (DU), but actually gave money to DU through an agreemenet. The funding is being used by DU to conduct on the ground elevation surveys (completed), provide design and engineering work to develop wetlands that will function as we need them to (completed), purchase a permanent pumping station (completed) and water pipelines, and other items. I encourage you to find out more about Ducks Unlimited and what all they have done and continue to do to support waterfowl by buying, restoring, and managing wetlands, grasslands, and forested areas nationwide. To date, they have had a direct, positive influence on more than 48 million acres in North America. Their mission is to conserve, restore, and manage wetlands and associated habitats for North America's waterfowl. These habitats also benefit other wildlife and people. Their website is

    Hagerman will continue the policy of no duck or goose hunting as has been the case since the Refuge was established in 1946.

  3. Hagerman is the decoy?

  4. Please see comment # 2, and thank you for your concern for wildlife.

  5. Hagerman is the decoy. Near-by property owners rent to hunters.

  6. The hunters are the largest contributors/conservationist to waterfowl populations.