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Creating Wintering Habitat With A Water Control Structure (Pics)
Saturday I finished one of the projects that has been on my list for a long time. At the hunting property there is a hardwood bottom just off the Flint River that floods when the river is high but loses it's water when the river drops. I think beavers would have dammed the creek were it not for the fact the trees in this bottom are HUGE with minimal undergrowth and as best as I can tell beavers seem to prefer areas with a lot of saplings and smaller trees. Last season we ran a test and blocked the water with sand bags (UGGHH that was a ton of work shoveling two truckloads of sand and hauling the bags one-at-a-time) and the wood ducks absolutely swarmed the place along with some mallards. So this year we dropped in an 18" pipe, trucked in 4 loads of dirt, and installed a screw gate. Concerned the dirt would wash away when the river gets way out of its banks I built a 6' by 10' retaining wall. Back when I was in college and doing construction work over the summers this wall would have been easy, I could operate a mattock, shovel, an post hole digger with the best of them. At age 52 no so much. I got it built Saturday but Sunday I was worthless.

The second picture shows the potential area that will hold water when the gate is closed. The new water control structure is two times as high as our sandbag experiment. Water often lays differently than expected, but this would be the best case picture. Last years sandbag experiment created a lot of flooding so I expect we will get close to the picture. Regardless of the final size there will be good habitat for waterfowl

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Eric Patterson: Sep 17, 2018, 8:19 AM

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