RIDGELAND, Miss., Dec. 1, 2005 — Ducks Unlimited and the USDA Forest Service just finished work on more than 85 acres of waterfowl habitat on Rookery Lake at Delta National Forest (DNF) in Sharkey County, Mississippi.
The project required the installation of one cast-in-place concrete stoplog structure, refurbishment of water distribution ditches, and removal of woody vegetation from within the forested wetland. DU provided funding to offset one-third of all project costs associated with the water control structure, while the Forest Service covered all other expenses related to enhancement activities.
Located in the south Mississippi Delta, the USDA Forest Service owns and manages the DNF. Its nearly 60,000 acres of bottomland hardwoods and forested wetlands provide excellent habitat for resident, migrating and wintering waterfowl. However, optimal habitat conditions are possible only through annual wetlands management by local staff.
“Area staff now have the infrastructure in place to more effectively manage moist-soil vegetation in the project area,” said Chris Cole, director of conservation programs for DU in Mississippi. “Completion of this project helps ensure the availability of this highly desired habitat to ducks and other wetland-dependent wildlife for years to come.”
This project will provide valuable foraging habitat to migrating waterfowl near the Yazoo River, an important wintering area in the south Mississippi Delta. Mallards, wood ducks, gadwall and green-winged teal will be the primary waterfowl species that benefit from this habitat project. The Forest Service will manage the area to maintain high quality moist-soil wetlands for waterfowl, while providing additional duck hunting opportunities for local waterfowlers.
“We’re all impressed with the completed wetland project. But, our most important customers and toughest critics are the birds,” said Larry Moore, district ranger for DNF. “We’ll know we’ve done a good job when we see ducks and wading birds packed in this newly enhanced wetland.”
DU and the Forest Service have partnered on numerous wetland development projects on DNF in Mississippi. The two organizations have combined resources on seven projects that enhanced more than 5,000 acres of wetland habitat.
With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands - nature's most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 100,000 wetland acres each year.
Look for Ducks Unlimited on the World Wide Web at www.ducks.org. Tune into The World of Ducks Unlimited Radio Network, and starting again in July, watch Ducks Unlimited Television on the Outdoor Life Network (OLN).