Moist Soil Management Classes Begin here in two weeks


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By Swamper - 5/9/2011 5:41:08 PM
:)

and i am the student......not really the teacher, as this will be my first year of trying it.  last year, as you know we completed the HAVEN in September.  now we will begin the process.  I am using the USDA Shallow Water Management For Wildlife conservation bulletin, printed in Nov. of  1999.

Year 1, this year, I will begin my draw down on May 15th.  2 inches per day for about 10 days (there is an average 20" in there right now, which is full load up to the spillway.

I will post up a pix once a month, May through October, to give you an idea what the transition will look like. I will be planting some jap millet and the rest will be, hopefully, natural wetland vegetation.

here's a starter pix.



see you in two weeks after the draw down!

swamper
By Swamper - 5/26/2011 7:24:01 PM
slowed down the draw.  it will be the end of next week before all the water out, or at least all that will drain out.  there will likely be some standing water in pockets.  that should evaporate and the only water would be in the channel.

one thing i have noticed, that as the water gets lower, more waterfowl show up.  it is now at about 6 inches and the honkers and mallards are stacking up.  next week they will have to find a new roost until slammerization season opens.  :)
By Swamper - 6/7/2011 8:23:37 PM
as previously mentioned, the water is down this week.  almost on schedule.  and as menitioned i have water pockets all over.  next week i will channel the water down along the right hand side as you look at this pix.  also, we will build up pit island and reset the pits.  once that is complete, i will seed a couple acres with millet and let the rest go through it's natural vegetation growth.  the algae you see should breakdown and provide some great natural fertilizer for growth............at least that's what the book says....:)

..................................

By Tinker Koch - 6/7/2011 10:21:46 PM
I'm Jealous, I can only wish to have such a fun project.
By Rob Robertson - 6/8/2011 12:28:08 PM
Nice project!   Here is mine from a Few years ago. 

From this

To this


To this

To this

To this!
By Rob Robertson - 6/8/2011 12:30:24 PM
Some of the plants and another after photo.

Penn Smartweed


nodding smartweed


Sedge


Sprangletop (My Favorite)


Jap Millet



Giant barnyard grass


Reglar barnyard grass


Toothcup


What You want it to look like in the fall with some rain.

By Rob Robertson - 6/8/2011 12:36:44 PM
And this is This Year.  Miles and Miles of Nodding Smartweed.  Just starting the draw down for Sedge and later some Jap millet.




By myrealname - 6/8/2011 3:37:55 PM
Rob,

WOW. It's safe to say my concentration is blown for the rest of the day at work haha.  Great piece of property you have there. 
By rtcbob - 6/8/2011 10:08:19 PM
Very impressive Rob!!!  The 5th picture down pretty much says it all!

And I like your choices in plants.  I'm planting several of the same again this year in my tiny little spot.
By Rob Robertson - 6/8/2011 11:13:36 PM
myrealname (6/8/2011)
Rob,

WOW. It's safe to say my concentration is blown for the rest of the day at work haha.  Great piece of property you have there. 


Thanks,  It is a Public Hunting area in Oklahoma.  With the help of Mother Nature, Army Corp Engineers, Oklahoma Dept of Wildlife.
By Swamper - 6/9/2011 9:30:33 PM
great variety of duck food.  which of the plots seems to draw the most birds.  as mentioned, i'm comfortable building the wetlands, but i'm not savy on the vegetation growing yet.

the NRCS biologist has been no help whatsoever.   pretty much on my own.  for this year, i'm going with the tried and true jap millet and natural growth and see how things go.

thanks for the pixs.  that public land must get hammered hard, but what a great opportunity for hunters!
By Rob Robertson - 6/10/2011 7:41:43 AM
Swamper (6/9/2011)
great variety of duck food.  which of the plots seems to draw the most birds.  as mentioned, i'm comfortable building the wetlands, but i'm not savy on the vegetation growing yet.

the NRCS biologist has been no help whatsoever.   pretty much on my own.  for this year, i'm going with the tried and true jap millet and natural growth and see how things go.

thanks for the pixs.  that public land must get hammered hard, but what a great opportunity for hunters!


Jap Millet draws the most birds.  After about 3 weeks all of it is gone.  Sprangle top is my favorite to hunt.  Sprangle top, Sedge will hold birds all season.  Toothcup and smartweed hold birds off and on.   Good Luck with Your project.  Ive been lucky and live just across town from Oklahoma Dept wildlife's top moist soil Guy (Fellow in one of the photos)  He has forgotten more than I have learned.
By Swamper - 6/29/2011 5:27:03 PM
it would be great to have an "expert" that close to me.

as mentioned, the NRCS biologist has been absolutely zero help.  only returned one email and then she disappeared from the face of the earth.  she even blows off the the local NRCS Conservationist's request to help me out.  darn shame actually, because we (the NRCS and I) built a heck of a nice MSM project and it would have been nice for some bio help.   oh well.

this is what is looks like now.  next week we will do the channeling i talked about to keep the water from dispersing across the entire plot. then i will immediately get the millet in.

By ESutter - 6/29/2011 6:19:30 PM
Swamper, how much water do you run in The Haven during season?
By Swamper - 6/29/2011 8:45:39 PM
howdy e

if you are wondering the amount in cf or gals, i don't have the answer to your question.  we don't pump the water in.  this piece has a natural spring fed "creek", for lack of a better term, that ran through the property.  by berming the entire property and putting an adjustable outfall weir at the low end, we are able to set the weir elevation from ...........no water (just what flows in and directly out) to an overall average depth of 28"-36". 

this is my first cycle of up and down  (we're down now), will flood to overall depth of 8" for hunting, then bring it all the way up for the winter and spring again.  then begin the slow draw down cycle all over again.

i will say that everything i read that says the slow, one month long (mid may to mid june) draw down will eliminate cattaail and other unwanted invasive growth seems to be true.  i have no "unwanteds" growing so far.

just for kicks, some quick math says that at full flooded stage i would be holding aprox. 500,000 cf or 3.7 million gallons.

after all this rambling............did i answer your question?

the nice part is that drought does not have hardly any affect on the incoming volume...........as for major extended  rains, the volume coming in is considerable and generally will not vacate through the outfall pipe.  in those cases the property water elevation raises to the emergency spillway elevation and is relieved there.  the emergency spillway elevation is about 8 inches below the top of the berm.

here's a pix of the spillway when we are at full capacity.  not much is going over the spillway.  but in very heavy rains, the water going out the spillway is substantially greater. 



under normal operating conditions, the water will go out the outfall structure at the low end of the impoundment, as seen here:



after all that, i just went back and read your question...........i think you meant what depth?................duh swamper

as mentioned somewhere in the above ramblings.........i like the water to be around 8 inch depth overall.  that seems to be the depth the ducks like the best.  i arrived at that by raising it slowly in the Fall.  when it got to 8 inches.....bingo, noticeably more ducks,   too much water...not so many.

trial and error is my name.......getting it right...some day.........is my game. Smile
By ESutter - 6/30/2011 12:52:45 PM
Swamper (6/29/2011)


after all that, i just went back and read your question...........i think you meant what depth?................duh swamper



Ha! Yeah, depth is what I was asking for, but I never have an issue learning more from ya.  Thanks!
By Swamper - 6/30/2011 2:33:22 PM
appreciate your understanding of an "aging" waterfowler.  Smile

have a great holiday!

swamper
By blizzardhunter - 6/30/2011 10:00:28 PM
That is surely a labor of love if I've ever seen one.  How big is the MSM area you are working with.  My dream is to someday have a property I can do that with.  Do you have one pit in there or multiple.
By Swamper - 7/4/2011 8:37:53 PM
bliz,

yes, it is indeed a labor of love!  and lots of fun!!

this piece is about 6 acres.  there are 4 pits.

i'll have some good pics this week of the modifications.  when we finished up last fall, i didn't get a chance to put the "final touches" to it.  so it will get done this week now that i have it drawn down and all the "newbies" are old enough to move on.

i hope that you get a piece to work with!!  i'm sure that you will.
By Swamper - 7/6/2011 3:45:00 PM
finished the corrective work (channeling and resetting the pit blinds). looks like we have solved the problems and it should be a great year at this spot. got a couple acres of millet planted, and...........an hour after we finished, a nice soaking rain rolled in...........Thank you Lord!

here is the low end with natural veg starting to grow.



here's a pic of the channeling...



here's a shot of the pits during install and after completion.  the idea is to make it look like a beaver lodge.



By blizzardhunter - 7/8/2011 7:01:54 AM
That turned out awesome.  That pit looks great.  I think when the water gets up this fall that blind will look so natural the birds will pile in.  I would be excited about it.
By Swamper - 7/8/2011 10:47:28 AM
hey bliz!

thanks.  there are actually 4 individual fiberglas, one man pits on that island. they work slick!!
By blizzardhunter - 7/10/2011 9:57:46 PM
Swamper,

Where are you located.  The pics look a world apart from the vegitation in my area.  I have a little project of my own I'm starting on.  My family have our own business and this past spring bought the property we had been leasing.  Its 10 acres total with about 7 acres of it being crop ground.  Its just outside of town.  We had a ton of rain back in the spring and the little water way through it got backed up.  We have usually about 1000 to 1500 resident geese we hunt and this last year we saw a big increase in resident ducks.

Long story short the main area they roost is 2 miles away and they fly by our shop almost daily. When the culvert backed up we had about an acre of water in the field and the birds used it right away.  So the other day it hit.  The field is in corn this year so why not make a flapper for the culvert and flood it out.  It doesn't look like somewhere you could kill ducks but they have already shown they will use it.  It figure even if its a bust I'm only out $30 to make the flapper. 
By Swamper - 7/11/2011 10:23:00 AM
hey bliz,

one thing is for sure............it won't be a bust!

i have some good thoughts....

what is the diameter of the outlet culvert pipe.  how deep can the water back up before it finds another way out once the culvert is "plugged".  remember..........8 inches is the perfect depth.

completely plugging it may not be the best design.

let's talk more.............got any pixs?

swamper
By blizzardhunter - 7/11/2011 6:43:49 PM
I might have a pic from earlier in the year I'll have to check.  Right now all you see is corn a little over 6ft tall.  The main channel (and I use that term loosely) is about 12 to 15 ft wide.  Once it starts to fill up and spread out of the main channel its a gentle incline.  The main channel will be just shy of 3 ft deep when it starts running over the access road.  At that level the water will be about 30-35 yds wide.  Other than the channel the depth will run between 10 -18 inches for the majority of it.  The hard part is the culvert will be under 2 ft of water at that point.  I've thought about using a sump pump to bring the water down a little if needed.  The whole area of water will be 30-35 yds wide and 70-80 yds long.  The culvert is actually a heavy duty 10 inch steel pipe. When the corn gets out in about 6 more weeks I have to bust some asphalt away from around the pipe to get a flapper or something on it.  The road runs through the middle of our field and is asphalt.  Behind us is an abandoned asphalt plant that the road runs to.  No one has been back there in about 3 years so nothing pays attention to it. 

I know it probably sounds like a really wierd place but I'm going to give it a shot.  One of the best features is I can see whats using it because its 300 yards behind our shop.  I'm there 5 or 6 days a week.  Most of the birds will be residents so they bounce between about 4 more roosting spots.  Almost all there feeding is done in dry fields ( which you wouldn't expect in western KY). I think offering them some food in the water will make them happy. I'm expecting to hunt it with layout blinds.  The way its set up it will probably be my best option.
By blizzardhunter - 7/11/2011 7:57:40 PM
Here is the one pic I have.
By Swamper - 7/11/2011 8:49:58 PM
i like it!  so, when the water is 18 inches deep overall outside the channel, the culvert is 2 feet below the surface.........got it.

you need something other than that culvert pipe to manipulate the water depth.  no problem.

build a 3 sided weir box in front of the culvert.  you'll have to figure a way to make the two sides that interface with the "asphalt???" water tight.  the front of the weir can be removable 2 x 4's so you can manipulate in  3-1/2 inch increments.

do you understand my idea?   should work slick and you can get the water just the right depth!!   a 10 inch pipe should only need about a 2 x 2 x 2 box. the height will be determined by what your maximum water depth should be.

if i'm not clear about this, i might be able to draw something using the Paint program and copy it on to here.
By blizzardhunter - 7/12/2011 7:01:38 AM
Swamper,

I see what your saying.  That shouldn't be 2 hard to do.  I guess to get a good seal against the side of the asphalt access road I can just try to pack some good clay dirt around it and kind of bury the sides of the box in. On the front of the box where the boards will slide in and out how should I make the channels for the end of the boards.  If I make them out of wood they will swell when wet making it tough to slide the boards in and out.  Do I make them a little loose or should I use angle iron to make the channels for the boards to slide in.

I'm not sure if I'm being very clear in my description.  I can make it either way.  Which do you think would be best?
By Swamper - 7/12/2011 9:35:30 AM
perfectly clear!!!!!

the angle iron idea is exactly what i would do!   and packing clay around the sides at the asphalt interface should be just the ticket!

i'm finding that being able to adjust the water level, just a couple inches, up or down, makes a difference in the number of birds that will use the property. 

and.........you can flood it in stages, so that you don't have to flood out the entire area all at once, thus burning out the food source.  helps to prolong the hunting on a given piece.

good luck and send some pixs if you can!

swamper
By Swanger - 8/1/2011 3:36:42 PM
Hey Swamper i was wondering what u can do for potholes that arent drainable.  Our local trappers association had some wetlands on our clubhouse property.  The US goverment came in and offered to dig 4 ponds for us as long as we kept it as waterfowl habbitat.  well its been about 4years now and only 2 of the ponds are really open the other two got choked up with cattails.  Is there any type of crop we can plant along the berm or waterplants that we could introduce.  There are a few wood duck houses back there but there isnt much food sources.  Also do u have a way that we can remove or cut back the cattails.  Thanks
By Swamper - 8/3/2011 10:12:05 PM
Swanger (8/1/2011)
Hey Swamper i was wondering what u can do for potholes that arent drainable.  Our local trappers association had some wetlands on our clubhouse property.  The US goverment came in and offered to dig 4 ponds for us as long as we kept it as waterfowl habbitat.  well its been about 4years now and only 2 of the ponds are really open the other two got choked up with cattails.  Is there any type of crop we can plant along the berm or waterplants that we could introduce.  There are a few wood duck houses back there but there isnt much food sources.  Also do u have a way that we can remove or cut back the cattails.  Thanks


hi swanger,   sorry, been out of town.  i will respond tomorrow. thanks.  swamper
By Swamper - 8/4/2011 9:01:43 PM
sounds to me like the the "ponds" were just shallow potholes. without good water to "drown" the cattails in early spring, it will be a tough battle.   removal by hand is an option unless the potholes are too big.  burning is an option.   both of those will only solve the problem for a short time.  habitat prime for cattail growth is just that............a cattail habitat.  if there are no available water sources, other than relying on mother nature, re constructing them to hold more water in the spring is the best option. it depends on what agreement you have with the feds as to whether or not you can go back in there and do them right.

the two that hold water.........you can plant some millet or other wetland goodies like smart weed, duck potato or arrow arrum along the edges.  great food for woodies.

good luck

swamper
By Greenhead25 - 8/31/2011 9:38:58 AM
Swamper you are still the man!!..Haven Looks great..Ive been away from the forums for a bit, busy saving the yard from crabgrass and such...lol... I got two of those pits blinds after you posted em a 18 months ago now i just need somewhere to install them...Figured Id make a trip up the east coast and put em next to yours!!!!:w00t:....Glad to see its turned out so great always a pleasure to see your projects
By Swamper - 9/21/2011 4:47:02 PM
hey greenhead, good to hear from you.  i hit the motherlode with the moist soil management.  got a monster crop of millet (i planted that) and the natural goodies came in great including bumper crop of smartweed.  lots of sedge.  the management drawdown kept the cattails from taking hold also........that's very important.

i'll post up a pix to show the progress.
By JTFrisque - 9/22/2011 11:59:00 AM
Hey swamper just recently came into a piece of property that we can plant some stuff but this late in the year couldnt find any jap millet but planted brown top instead just wondering if the ducks use it as much as the jap. I've heard they both work well but I just wanted to get your opinion
By Swamper - 9/22/2011 12:36:50 PM
jt, can't honestly answer that one. haven't had any real experience with brown top, although, i've read that is a good duck food.  my concern would be whether or not you have enough growing season left.
By JTFrisque - 9/23/2011 12:31:30 PM
yeah I'm thinking the same thing but we don't really ever get a frost till November down here and the millet will just focus on growing and not producing a lot of seed but we just figured it won't hurt to try just because from kansas south everyone is in a pretty extreme drought
By Swamper - 9/23/2011 4:06:19 PM
you hit the nail on the head............"it doesn't hurt to try!!!"

with only 30 or so days left to grow it might not head out, but, good luck.   let me know how you make out.