Ducks Unlimited finished a wetland restoration project at the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge near Starkville, Mississippi, in October. The main water-control structure used to manage the Green Tree Reservoir No.3 was failing, preventing proper water level management and creating a sink hole in the levee. GTR No.3 is the refuge’s managed waterfowl hunt unit and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service addressed the failing infrastructure to keep their ability to flood this GTR for waterfowl and hunters.
DU worked with the refuge to remove the failing corrugated metal pipes from the concrete headwalls and replace them with heavy walled steel pipes. The construction took place during a two-week period in October and was completed in time for the refuge to flood the GTR for hunting season.
The 48,000-acre NWR is in Noxubee, Oktibbeha, and Winston counties. The endangered red-cockaded woodpecker relies on the refuge for its existence in east-central Mississippi. Noxubee NWR is one of only four sites where the species can be seen in the state. Many neotropical migratory bird species benefit from the variety of habitats the refuge provides. Four GTRs, two large lakes, 16 small impoundments and assorted wetland areas provide important habitat for the wood stork, American alligator, bald eagle, and wintering waterfowl.
More than 150,000 refuge visitors annually participate in activities including fishing, hunting, hiking, wildlife photography, wildlife observation, environmental education and research. The refuge serves as an outdoor classroom for Mississippi State University and other local educational institutions and allows small game hunting, deer hunting, waterfowl hunting and turkey hunting within state seasons, with certain limitations and regulations.