Ducks Unlimited recently finished construction on a massive water-control structure at Blind Lake in the Texas Chenier Plain. The project cost more than $1 million to build, and funding came from a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant and partners, including Jefferson County Drainage District 6. The structure will enhance water level management on just over 4,000 acres of freshwater marsh on private property and the J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area.

This project represents a unique partnership involving DU, private landowners, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Jefferson County DD6. The structure was constructed on the J.D. Murphree WMA at the edge of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW). Prior to project construction, water levels were too deep in the marsh as the bank of the GIWW blocked natural drainage. The structures are set to maintain optimal water levels throughout the marsh while excess water will drain out into the GIWW. The structures will also prevent passage of high saline tidal water from the GIWW. It will be managed and maintained by Jefferson County DD6 and will provide for marsh enhancement on adjacent private lands.

Ultimately, the project will mimic natural wet-dry hydro periods, improve aquatic vegetation production and sustainability, enhance native uplands to improve nesting opportunities for resident mottled ducks and other birds and provide better management capability to an impounded wetland unit.