Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Fayette | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Warren | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Seasonally Flooded Impoundments Produce Natural Waterfowl Foods

wkoutdoors a 300FRANKFORT, KY (10/4/12) – Seasonally flooded impoundments, also referred to as moist soil units, can produce a smorgasbord of native plants that migrating waterfowl will feed on throughout the fall and winter hunting seasons.
 
"Natural foods are superior to row crops because they provide more complete nutrition, said Kevin Tucker, a private lands wildlife biologist with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. "With the proper water level manipulation it's possible to encourage smartweed, wild millet, fall panicum and sedges, which will attract mallards and other species of dabbling ducks.
 
Seasonally flooded impoundments typically average about 10 acres in size, but can be as small as 1 1/2 acres or larger than 100 acres. The optimum water depth is about 18 inches.
 
The best locations for seasonal impoundments are low areas along rivers or in creek bottoms, where runoff water collects and the soil types hold water. Construction should take place during the dry part of the summer, but Tucker, who has worked in western Kentucky since 1995, said it can be too dry. "There has to be enough moisture to be able to compact the dirt levee, he said.
 
Water levels are controlled by what's called a stop log structure. This consists of a three-sided metal box with slots on the front facing the water where boards can be stacked on top of one another. "When water overtops the boards, it falls into the box and runs out a pipe through the levee, said Tucker.

"Adding boards raises the water level in the impoundment, and removing boards lowers it.”

After the growing season is over in early fall, the water level should be brought up slowly. "That way not all the food will be flooded at the same time, said Tucker. "You want the water level to peak in early- to mid-December.
 
With proper water level management, natural foods will be available to waterfowl for a much longer period of time than grains such as corn or millet, which deteriorate rapidly when flooded continuously.
 
Seasonally flooded impoundments continue to provide food long after the weed seed are gone in the late winter, when ducks migrate back through Kentucky on their way to their breeding grounds.
 
"Ducks forage through the fodder or plant debris, feeding on larval insects and other invertebrates that provide much-needed protein, Tucker said.
 
The draining of seasonal impoundments should not begin until early- to mid-April. "You want to slowly take the water level down, removing one board every two weeks, said Tucker. "By slowly lowering the water level you get a much different vegetative response. Drop the water level too fast and your mudflats will dry up. That will promote the growth of bad weeds such as the cocklebur.
 
Hunters with access to wetlands could have some excellent hunting this fall. Many of the ponds and sloughs in western Kentucky that dried up during the summer drought are now covered with lush stands of native grasses, providing excellent duck forage.
 
Duck numbers are up, too. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (U.S.F.W.S.) reports the 2012 estimate of breeding ducks in the traditional survey area was 48.6 million birds, a 7 percent increase from last year's record total. This is the largest estimate since annual waterfowl surveys began in 1955. Mallards were up 15 percent from 9.2 million birds in 2011 to 10.6 million this year. Only twice, in 1958 and1999, have more mallards been recorded during the May survey. Populations of all other major duck species, except northern pintails, were either above or statistically similar to 2011 estimates.
 
Seasonally flooded impoundments will help you take advantage of this fantastic waterfowl bounty this fall.

Author Art Lander Jr. has been writing about the outdoors since the 1970s. He is a staff writer for Kentucky Afield Magazine.
 
WK Outdoors
Information provided by the Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

In Other News...

Drought Conditions Prompt Campfire Safety Reminder

GOLDEN POND, Ky. (7/30/14) — Due to the current drought conditions in the area, and increasingly dry weather in the… Read More

Madisonville Man Charged for Intoxication Disturbance

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (7/30/14) — Madisonville Police were dispatched to the Mayflower apartment complex for a disturbance… Read More
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

July 28, 2014 3354

Madisonville Woman Arrested for Being a…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 30, 2014 3069

UPDATE: Waide Responds to Allegations of…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
July 30, 2014 2986

Three Arrested in Muhlenberg as Part of…

in Top Stories by GPD Officer Wes Miller
July 28, 2014 2954

Madisonville Man Arrested for Endangering…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 28, 2014 2482

Disagreement Over Killing Snake in House…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

July 28, 2014 3354

Madisonville Woman Arrested for Being a…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 28, 2014 2954

Madisonville Man Arrested for Endangering…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 28, 2014 2482

Disagreement Over Killing Snake in House…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 28, 2014 1694

Madisonville Man Arrested for Assault,…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 28, 2014 1692

Two Injured in Vehicle Collision on…

in Top Stories by William Roundtree

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

July 28, 2014 1144

Zuberer Takes Over at Quarterback for…

in News by Steve LeMaster
July 28, 2014 1012

Dont Miss Out on a Howl of a Good Time

in News by Brittni Bunn
July 28, 2014 883

Instant Admissions Day is Aug. 1, 2014

in News by Bernie Hale
July 29, 2014 698

Happenings and Meetings - Daviess County

in News by Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau
July 28, 2014 436

Prosecutors Mull Over Whether to Charge…

in Top Stories by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

July 30, 2014 2986

Three Arrested in Muhlenberg as Part of…

in Top Stories by GPD Officer Wes Miller
July 30, 2014 2110

UPDATE: Muhlenberg Man, Woman Arrested in…

in Top Stories by Sheriff Curtis McGehee
July 28, 2014 1400

Foot Pursuit Ends with Arrest

in Top Stories by Christopher Rogers
July 28, 2014 1307

Boys of Broad to Launch Video at Cinema 4

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
July 29, 2014 1306

Muhlenberg District Court Fines Handed…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 06social 21social 22social 04social 03