Davis Motor Sales banner ad

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 2015 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 on social media.

In Other News...

District 10 Governors Cup Hosted by Spottsville Elementary School

HENDERSON, Ky. (2/27/15) — District 10 Governor’s Cup will be hosted by Spottsville Elementary School on Saturday, Feb.… Read More

Hume, Smithhart among Coach of the Year Honorees

WINCHESTER, Ky. (2/27/15) — Henderson County's Tyler Smithhart (Region 2) and Daviess County's Pat Hume (Region 3) are… Read More

Most Read This Week

February 21, 2015 6914

Traffic Advisory for Western Kentucky

in Top News For All Sites by KTC
February 25, 2015 6005

Multi-Agency Investigation Nets Large-Scale Meth…

in Top News For All Sites by Trooper Stu Recke
February 24, 2015 5934

Two Charged in Central City Meth Bust

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
February 25, 2015 5847

New Asian Restaurant Coming to Madisonville

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Gary Gates, SurfKY News
February 22, 2015 5713

Easter Cuties Pageant in Memory of Shanice Bean

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
February 21, 2015 5406

Local Administrators Warn Employees to Watch for…

in Top News For All Sites by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

February 12, 2015

UPDATE: Name of Pennyrile Fatality Officially…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Today

February 27, 2015 997

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Feb. 27, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
February 27, 2015 815

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

in Hopkins News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office
February 27, 2015 662

Tips for Travelers Considering a Cruise

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
February 27, 2015 652

AIRPLAY: Travis Dukes Makes Stop for Jam Session

in Top News For All Sites by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
February 27, 2015 649

Tim Thomas to Speak at Rescheduled Black History…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
February 27, 2015 643

How to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions at Home

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
February 27, 2015 605

Whitfield Presses Health Secretary on Obamacare…

in General News For All Sites by Marty Irby
February 27, 2015 581

Mustangs Fall to McLean County in Three Overtime…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Steve LeMaster
February 27, 2015 552

The Potentially Harmful Effects of Mold in Your…

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
February 27, 2015 550

Lady Mustangs Capture 10th District Title

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Steve LeMaster