Ducks Unlimited partnered with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to enhance 500 acres of coastal marsh on the Lower Neches Wildlife Management Area’s Old River Unit.
DU provided survey, engineering, design and construction oversight for a weir replacement project across the Lake Street ditch. The structure replaced a failing plug built in 2006 to block daily tidal exchange through the borrow ditch. The plug reduced the effects of excessive salt water that moved down the borrow ditch into the interior portions of the coastal marsh. Though the plug reduced salinity spikes and increased plant productivity, its earthen core was quickly eroding, causing a complete structure collapse. The new weir will provide the same hydrologic improvements for the long term. The armored weir can also serve as a walkway to enhance public access.
Lower Neches WMA features coastal plains and surrounding rivers, bayous and shorelines, which are attractive to many migratory birds, game and non-game, that stop during their flight to and from South America on the Central Flyway. Hunting for birds and alligators is permitted during scheduled special hunts and observation areas are popular for wildlife viewing.
To magnify the conservation impact, the Lake Street Weir project was included as match in DU’s NAWCA proposal titled “Mottled Duck Wetland Improvements,” which was recently approved for funding. Ducks Unlimited, TPWD and other proposal partners have leveraged the completed project to obtain $1,000,000 in NAWCA grant funds for future projects that will enhance and restore 1,500 acres of waterfowl habitat in the Lone Star State.