California Waterfowl biologists are looking at another aggressive construction season in 2014. Working hard to improve habitat on both the public and private fronts, California Waterfowl will be enhancing habitat across the state. Healthy waterfowl populations will mean happy hunting come fall, so thank you for your continued support of our conservation efforts.
Project Locations: Modoc and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuges, Ash Creek Wildlife Area, seven private properties
Acres Affected: 2,020
Enhancement and restoration projects will focus on improving water delivery infrastructure for wetlands, wet meadow and floodplain habitat. Construction will also increase the acreage of available seasonal wetland habitat and upland nesting cover for waterfowl. The bulk of the project work for 2014 will be located at the Ash Creek Wildlife Area (near Pilot Butte), Modoc NWR (Grandma Tract/Floodplain unit) and Tule Lake NWR (various “Walking Wetland” units). CWA is planning to submit a phase three NAWCA grant, which if funded would allow for an additional one million dollars of wetland work to be completed.
Project Locations: Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, Upper Butte Basin WA, Delevan NWR, Colusa NWR, and Four Private Clubs
Acres Affected: 1,715
The state wildlife area projects (Gray Lodge, Little Dry Creek and Howard Slough) will concentrate on increasing waterfowl production and upland nesting cover while also increasing management capabilities for feed production in the hunt areas. The federal refuge projects will improve the infrastructure, including levees and islands, while improving water movement across these wetland units. The private projects will be accomplishing similar types of improvements while making the properties more water efficient and improving diversity within the wetland and upland units.
Project Locations: Yolo Bypass WA and Eight Private Properties
Acres Affected: 1,800
Projects on Yolo Wildlife Area will involve field 3 in the north east unit of the blind hunting area located out of lot H. The project will enhance wetlands to improve management for waterfowl food plants, which will ultimately attract more birds and improve hunting. Similar projects will be conducted in field 5 of the central unit located south of lot H. Slaviches pond south of lot M will also be enhanced. All of these projects should improve hunting opportunities on the wildlife area in years to come. A total of 8 private landowner projects will also be completed this year.
Project Location: Grizzly Island WA and 25 Private Clubs
Acres Affected: 2,500
California was recently awarded a $1 million NAWCA grant and a $75,000 small NAWCA grant for habitat work in the Suisun Marsh. These funds, combined with local contributions, will allow staff to work on nearly 20 enhancement projects in 2014 on 19 private clubs and Grizzly Island WA. Work on Grizzly Island WA will focus on weed control and infrastructure improvement on ponds 5-8.
Project Locations: Los Banos WA, North Grasslands WA Gadwall Unit and China Island Units
Acres Affected: 2,000
CWA will be focusing on Los Banos and North Grasslands state areas, where projects funded and recently proposed will address the extreme drought situation the Grasslands will be facing in 2014/2015. With surface water projected to be in short supply, grant work will focus on improvement to deep well and low lift pumps. In addition to critical pump work, two public use trails/areas, on both Los Banos WA and Gadwall Unit, are in planning and construction phases.
Project Locations: Kern NWR, Mendota WA, Four Private Properties
Acres Affected: 2,839
A restoration project on Kern NWR will restore a fallow, unmanaged unit back to wetland habitat, providing additional wetland acreage which will allow refuge staff to increase the acreage of hunted habitat and also the number of hunters allowed. Two enhancement projects on Mendota WA will focus on improved water management capabilities by constructing levees, developing swales, installing water control structures, developing islands and loafing bars, along with enhancing irrigated upland habitat. Private landowner projects will restore 180 acres of fallow land back to wetland habitat while enhancement projects will focus on water conservation infrastructure and improved efficiency to increase wetland management capabilities and feed production. In February, California Waterfowl submitted another million-dollar NAWCA grant proposal for the region.
Project Location: Imperial WA Wister Unit
Acres Affected: 254 acres restored and Phase I of the Old Fish Hatchery Demolition
At Wister we will be reconstructing the 114A and 413A Units to create all new seasonal wetland units that the staff at Wister will be able to conduct much improved wetland management for the future. Improving water movement and allowing for quick delivery and removal of water will help to maximize seed production on these units for wintering and migratory waterfowl and other wetland dependent bird species. In addition, Phase I of the removal of the Old Warm Water Fish Hatchery has begun and will eventually allow for the development of 245 acres of new huntable wetland units and a fishing unit to be made available for public use.