Hunter success and satisfaction were high during the early teal season this past September at the McPherson Valley Wetlands (MVW) Wildlife Area in Kansas. Ducks Unlimited and its partner, the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), are celebrating the restoration of 90 acres of wetlands on MVW in McPherson County. Irrigation is now online to bring water to the east wetland unit where this summer the KDWPT planted Japanese millet, a beneficial seed producer for waterfowl. The west unit at MVW was left unplanted and allowed to regenerate with native moist-soil vegetation.
"Ducks found the millet soon after we pumped water into the wetland," said Jason Black, public land manager with the KDWPT. "The area received almost seven inches of rain in early October, and now the east and west units are flooded. There have been many successful hunters enjoying the restored wetlands already this season."
Restoration crews installed levees and water-control structures to improve water management. The uplands and levees surrounding the restored wetlands were planted with native grass species. Using funding from a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant, DU’s engineering team designed the wetland restorations so they would not impact neighboring private lands.
Future restoration plans include installing additional pipeline to increase pumping capabilities that will bring water into the western wetland unit. DU’s next phase will be to restore the Shirk Marsh area in the northwest portion of MVW. DU engineering designed a series of dikes with a water control structure to restore this drained farm field and manage the wetlands for ideal wetland conditions.
"The next phase will provide another 90-acre marsh with associated restored tallgrass prairie habitat around the buffer. Designing and permitting are complete, and we are now waiting for site conditions to improve to begin construction," said Matt Hough, DU manager of conservation programs in Kansas.
MVW Wildlife Area is in the middle of the Central Flyway and provides migration habitat for waterfowl traveling between the Gulf Coast and the Prairie Pothole Region. The wetlands on the Wildlife Area contribute to a landscape that includes Quivira National Wildlife Refuge and Cheyenne Bottoms and supports large concentrations of birds in the spring.
McPherson Valley Wetlands is open to the public for hunting and other recreation. Visit the KDWPT site for more information.