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Creating Wintering Habitat With A Water Control Structure (Pics)

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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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Re: Creating Wintering Habitat With A Water Control Structure (Pics) In reply to
That looks like a fun project (although a lot of work as you said). Like a kid playing in the creek damming it up - I loved doing that.

Neat. I hope it works out for you!
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Re: Creating Wintering Habitat With A Water Control Structure (Pics) In reply to
Eric,
Love that project. I often wish I could buy a little playground and see what I can do with it. I looked at one this spring but it never got past the dream stage.

"UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

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Re: Creating Wintering Habitat With A Water Control Structure (Pics) In reply to
I wish this was my property. The man that owns my company is passionate about buying and developing land for hunting and outdoor recreation. He owns several thousand acres that he lets Thomas and I help develop. Thomas enjoys it so much it is starting to help him decide his college major and career aspirations. Perhaps more on that later....

Eric
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Re: Creating Wintering Habitat With A Water Control Structure (Pics) In reply to
Hey Eric, creating the habitat is almost as fun as enjoying it during season! Except for all of the mosquitos and ticks. Great looking spot and I hope it exceeds your expectations!
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Now comes the decision of what to plant next spring for duck salad! Tons of info out there on different ways to go from natural plantings to cultivated crops. If it mostly drys up during planting season that is. But even muddy ground can be planted in some food items and really pull waterfowl. Good luck with your new area.
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Re: Creating Wintering Habitat With A Water Control Structure (Pics) In reply to
Interesting project Eric. I have a 70 acre parcel with a mountain runoff brook through it and have often toyed in my head how to create some back water retention for wood ducks. Good luck with the outcome.
"Pass the Tradition Along"
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Great stuff! Neat project for you & your son as well. Looking forward to flooded pictures!
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Re: Creating Wintering Habitat With A Water Control Structure (Pics) In reply to
Awesome job!

How does the screw gate work, and how does the water get from there to the pipe? Is that something you built?
Kirk Sherbine
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Re: Creating Wintering Habitat With A Water Control Structure (Pics) In reply to
ksherbine wrote:
Awesome job!

How does the screw gate work, and how does the water get from there to the pipe? Is that something you built?


http://www.osceolamachine.net/ built the screw gate. The gate is down in the picture but if I were to turn the handle a bunch of times you would see the 18" galvanized pipe. The screw gate clamps onto the pipe and is very secure. If we get a heavy rain and the river jumps up quickly I'll open the water and let it flow into the bottoms. Otherwise I'll keep it closed from Oct - Feb and let runoff collect. Sometime in Feb I'll open the gate and leave it open to get water off the trees during growing season. We don't want to kill any trees. There are some white oaks in there that are 30" in diameter with no limbs for 20 feet. There are some pretty big tupelos too. Quite impressive.




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Re: Creating Wintering Habitat With A Water Control Structure (Pics) In reply to
We're thinking of doing something similar, except just using a 10 or 12" pipe and elbow with stand pipe. My thinking is that we can just pull the stand pipe off to drain. I know we'll lose the ability to fine tune the water level, but it's way cheaper and will work for our application.

What are your thoughts on that?
Kirk Sherbine
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Re: Creating Wintering Habitat With A Water Control Structure (Pics) In reply to
Eric Patterson wrote:
There are some pretty big tupelos too. Quite impressive.


Nice butt swell.
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Re: Creating Wintering Habitat With A Water Control Structure (Pics) In reply to
ksherbine wrote:
We're thinking of doing something similar, except just using a 10 or 12" pipe and elbow with stand pipe. My thinking is that we can just pull the stand pipe off to drain. I know we'll lose the ability to fine tune the water level, but it's way cheaper and will work for our application.

What are your thoughts on that?


How many acres and how fast do you need to get water off? 12" will move a lot of water given time but it will also clog more easily. I've seen that work before but the solution I think is usually the best is a flashboard riser. They give ultimate water level control and are the easiest to keep clean. I wold loved to have used a flashboard riser instead of the screw gate but we already had two srew gates on hand.

Eric
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Re: Creating Wintering Habitat With A Water Control Structure (Pics) In reply to
tod osier wrote:
Eric Patterson wrote:
There are some pretty big tupelos too. Quite impressive.



Nice butt swell.


Tod, If I can remember I will get you a picture of the craziest butt swell I've come across. It looks EXACTLY like Kim Kardashian's ass. On second thought we don't want to see that.
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Re: Creating Wintering Habitat With A Water Control Structure (Pics) In reply to
We're only flooding around 3 acres. I never thought about it clogging. That's definitely a consideration. We'll have to at least put a screen on it.
Kirk Sherbine
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Looks great!! Did you have to a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to do that?
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No permit.
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Impressive

Take care, Huntindave McCann Smile SHELL ROCK IA “As sailors grow older, the wiser ones move to smaller boats.” —Thomas Firth Jones, Multihull Voyaging
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This is a cool project. The company I work for now does some wetland creation, but it is more for remediation. We are in the process of returning some old fields back into a flood plain forest for the USFW/nature conservancy. I have really like doing this work. I would love to get into moist soil management and creating Duck impoundments. Operating machines is so much fun!

There is a lot of this by you or Arkansas area, Thomas would have plenty of opportunities.

"Remember that it is not the so much the appearance of the bird in the hand but the effect of a half-gunshot off that counts" Duck Shooting Along the Atlantic Tidewater