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Alazan Bayou Wildlife Management Area Shows Improvements

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Alazan Bayou Wildlife Management Area Shows Improvements

Working in conjunction with Ducks Unlimited, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has made significant improvements to the Alazan Bayou Wildlife Management Area in southern Nacogdoches County.

"We’ve had a busy 24 months at Alazan," said Bill Adams, TPWD’s Pineywoods Ecosystem Project leader. "We’ve got the wetlands units functioning pretty much as they were designed to. But it’s been a big job."

Beginning in the summer of 2006, TPWD staff managed aerial applications of herbicide to kill out woody encroachments in the wetlands units and roller-chopped the smaller trees and underbrush. Finally, in October 2007, using bulldozers, they piled and burned the debris.

"With the area cleared, we were better able to observe how the impoundments were functioning. This helped us determine which water control structures should be extended or repaired" Adams said. "These repairs really enhanced our water holding capabilities in the units."

The Alazan Bayou WMA held water from November 2007 through April 2008 and supported a large variety of waterfowl, wading birds and shore birds.

Current plans call for TPWD to continue improvements in the Alazan Bayou.

The staff plans to increase water depth in the wetland cells and to improve the efficiency of moving water from cell to cell to support wildlife. Also in the works are plans to open landing strips for migrating birds by this fall.

"We may not be completely ready by teal season," Adams said. "But, once the North Zone duck season opens this fall, we’ll offer both waterfowl and waterfowl hunters more opportunities than ever before in the wetlands at Alazan Bayou WMA."

The success of the Alazan Bayou WMA is one of many examples of cooperative efforts between DU and state government agencies.

"Much of this work was, of course, made possible with the financial assistance of DU," Adams said. "We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, and we hope that DU will be, also."

Ducks Unlimited funding for the Alazan Bayou WMA project came through DU’s Texas CARE program, designed to keep Texas dollars at work on Texas projects. Since 1988, Texas CARE and its DU partners have conserved more than 180,000 wetland acres in Texas.

Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most successful wetland conservation. Since its founding in 1937, DU has conserved, restored and protected more than 12 million acres of critical wetland and associated upland habitat, providing haven for more than 900 documented wildlife species.

For more information about the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, visit its Web site at www.tpwd.state.tx.us. And look for the Alazan Bayou exhibit at the Lufkin Ducks Unlimited Banquet on Oct. 18.

For information about Ducks Unlimited, visit the organization’s Web site at

www.ducks.org. For information about DU activities in Texas, visit tx.ducks.org.

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