DU recently developed a new well at the upper end of Gray Lodge WA’s water distribution system but sufficient funds were not available at the time to install a pump on the well. New grant funds will be used to install a pump to move water into the distribution system used for habitat management throughout the entire 9,189-acre area.
Water distribution and management capabilities within Fields 46, 48, 55, 56, 57, and 59 are limited and these areas are far below their potential to provide high-quality wildlife habitat. Selected areas will be recontoured; dysfunctional drain and delivery ditches, levees, and swales will be removed; and new swales and potholes will be constructed. Sections of existing levees and ditches will be regraded or improved, sections of new levees and ditches will be constructed, degraded water control structures will be replaced and additional water control structures will be installed. Islands, loafing bars, and submerged benches will be constructed to increase habitat quality and diversity. Some of the material removed from wetland areas during recontouring will be placed on upland areas to raise those sites sufficiently so they can be managed to support high-quality upland cover. Most of the uplands will be seeded with a mix of native grasses or other desirable cover species
Project work will improve water distribution, water use efficiency, water conveyance capabilities, and upland cover within Fields 46, 48, 55, 56, 57, and 59. It will improve water and vegetation management capabilities and decrease mosquito production, as well as integrate these six fields into the recently-renovated water conveyance and control system on Gray Lodge WA, allowing the fields to benefit from the capabilities of that infrastructure. Project work will improve habitat conditions for a variety of waterfowl, shorebirds, waterbirds, and other wildlife, including several special-status species. It will also improve recreational opportunities for the public by improving habitat conditions. Fields 46, 48, 55, 56, and 57 are open to public hunting. Fields 55, 56, and 57 are very popular hunt units. Field 59 is not open to hunting but provides a source of birds for the adjacent hunt units.
DU completed habitat improvement work in Field 46 during late summer 2013. Pump installation is underway and will be completed by August 2014. DU will conduct the topographic survey in Fields 48, 55, 56, 57, and 59 during summer 2014 and prepare the engineering design for habitat improvement for these fields during fall and winter 2014. Project construction will be implemented in these fields during summer 2015 and the uplands will be seeded during fall 2015.