RIDGELAND, Miss., Feb. 14, 2006 – Ducks Unlimited, Inc., the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) and Vulcan Materials Company completed habitat enhancement on Duck Island last summer. A dedication ceremony will be held this spring to honor major monetary contributions made by Foster V. Jones, Jr. (deceased), Foster V. Jones III, Allen and Sandra Gailor, Andrew Gailor, Robert Evans and Donald R. Jaggers. The newly developed wetlands will benefit migrating and wintering waterfowl in western Kentucky.
Duck Island is a 439-acre wetland located in Trigg County, Ky. This wetland is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and was developed to mitigate loss of waterfowl habitat that resulted when Lake Barkley was impounded in 1966. The original levee that created Duck Island was breached in the early 1990s and the area's water management capabilities were compromised. In 1997, cooperative efforts among DU, the KDFWR and the USACE reconstructed the main levee and improved water delivery and removal.
More than 4,000 tons of riprap was donated by Vulcan Materials and used to construct several small levees within the main containment levee. This created small wetland units on a 100 acre section of Duck Island. The remaining 339 acres will be managed as deep pool habitat.
“With the additional wetland units within the surrounding dike we can manage Duck Island to its maximum potential” said Rocky Pritchert, migratory bird program coordinator for the KDFWR. “We will manage this area for natural and agricultural food production that will benefit waterfowl, as well as provide important wetland habitat for other wildlife.”
Prior to enhancement, the KDFWR had difficulties managing water levels on Duck Island because of conflicting water management strategies employed by the USACE on Lake Barkley.
“This project has greatly improved water management capabilities on nearly a third of the area,” said Scott Manley, director of conservation for DU. “Shallowly flooded wetlands are limited in the Barkley and Kentucky Lakes region and the new levees on Duck Island will provide this habitat.”
Duck Island is the most important waterfowl concentration area on Lake Barkley. When the island is operating at full potential, the area can provide wintering habitat for up to 35,000 waterfowl. The KDFWR manages Duck Island as a waterfowl refuge from Oct. 15 through March 15.
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).