RIDGELAND, Miss., Jan. 25, 2006 – More than 425 acres of land at the Mahannah Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is now waterfowl and wildlife habitat as part of an improvement project by Ducks Unlimited, Inc. (DU), the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Mobile District, and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP). These 425 acres will be managed for moist-soil vegetation and flooded cropland.
“Mahannah WMA is unique because waterfowl management is the primary goal, and the area has potential to support a large number of wintering birds,” said Chris Cole, director of conservation programs for DU in Mississippi.
Wetland engineers from the DU Southern Regional Office (SRO) surveyed, designed and developed six impoundments with 13 associated water control structures. Engineers also drilled one new well and installed a pump with capacity to deliver 3,000 gallons of water per minute. The well was connected to four impoundments by 1,300 feet of PVC pipe that will help summer irrigation and winter flooding.
The impoundments will be managed by MDWFP staff to provide habitat for waterfowl. The USACE provided land and funding to implement this project as part of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Wildlife Mitigation Project. This project, phase II of the Mahannah WMA, is in Issaquena County, Miss.
Because of the historical loss of bottomland hardwood forest throughout the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, flooded croplands and moist-soil wetlands are integral for providing foraging and staging habitats for migrating and wintering waterfowl. The phase II addition will add to the 772 managed acres of waterfowl habitat completed by these partners in 2003. Portions of Mahannah WMA are open to the public and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation including waterfowl and deer hunting.
Wintering waterfowl in the Mississippi Delta will find abundant and diverse food resources in the moist-soil areas created on Mahannah WMA, and the flooded millet and soybean fields will make high-energy foods available for waterfowl to refuel. Many duck species will benefit from these habitat improvements, including mallards, pintails, gadwall and green-winged teal. Portions of the impoundments with deeper water can benefit diving ducks, including ring-necked ducks and scaup.
As part of the WMA enhancement contract, Chad Manlove, manager of conservation planning with DU, developed a management plan to assist MDWFP and ensure maintenance of productive waterfowl habitat into the future at Mahannah WMA.
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).