Ducks Unlimited (DU) has partnered with Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) on a project in Jackson County, Alabama, that will directly impact approximately 1,400 acres of dewatering units managed for waterfowl. “In recent years, ADCNR has had issues with aging water control structures and equipment that have impeded waterfowl habitat management progress on Mud Creek and Raccoon Creek WMAs,” stated Courtenay Conring, Wildlife Biologist with Jackson County Wildlife Management Area’s and Refuges.
Purchasing new and repairing old structures and equipment that are necessary to control water can be taxing from a budget, logistic, and manpower standpoint for any single entity. These larger scale projects served as a perfect opportunity for DU and ADCNR to collaborate. For several seasons, ADCNR has not been able to drain the dewatering units due to primary pump breakdowns. “Through this partnership, two new angle pumps have been acquired that will serve as back-up pumps to use if the primary pumps malfunction” Conring said. “Most of the problems that have plagued the primary pump on Mud Creek WMA was due to its right-angle motor setup. It now is retrofitted with a vertical motor, which reduces the potential for individual part damage and improves pumping efficiency.
The discharge pipe attached to the primary pump at Raccoon Creek had deteriorated over time, reducing the quantity of water outflow and increasing power usage and pump wear. That pipe is being replaced. In addition to pump and pump-related work, two new control gates are scheduled to be installed on the areas in July. While the direct impact of these projects is quantified at face value as 1,400 acres of improved habitat, well over 3,000 public land waterfowl hunters, thousands of acres of local duck properties, and migratory waterfowl in the state of Alabama will benefit annually from this collaboration for the foreseeable future.