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Reed Family Ranch Wetlands Enhancement Plans
 
On July 3rd, 2002, Jim met with Carl Frentress and Kevin Kraii from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Bill Bartush about a plan for enhancement of the wetlands on the Reed Ranch.
 
There were 4 projects selected to work on:
 
BEARMAN LAKE - the re-vegetation idea was scrapped. When the two TPWD wildlife biologists (Carl Frentress and Kevin Kraii) looked in certain areas around bearman (mostly in the area north of bearman dam), they found an abundance of seed stock already present for many types of aquatic plants that could be used as foodstock for waterfowl.
 
But, it was found that the needed vegetation was not growing in the lake itself, where it's needed most.
 
Bearman Lake
Reed Ranch
 
It was determined that, since the needed seedstock was already present in the adjacent areas, there is likely no reason for bringing in additional vegetation. All that is needed is to create the conditions in the lake itself, for the seedstock to spread. This was most evident in the area north of bearman dam, between the dam and the river.
The desired vegetation was found only in the areas that were found to be dry in certain times of the year. From this observation, it was concluded that the same conditions could be replicated in the lake itself, by drawing down the lake at certain times of the year to allow this vegetation to grow and flourish in the lake itself.
 
As the plan developed, it was concluded that a water control structure was needed in the dam, so the water could be drawn down when needed. Also, as the water recedes at draw-down time, japanese millet could be planted for additional Fall waterfowl foodstock if desired.
 
There were three other activities which were discussed for doing at the same time the water control structure was being installed (1) the dam itself could be dressed and secured better with more brick and concrete (2) the low area west of the dam could be hardened (with cobble, rock, brick, or concrete chips) to control erosion and also to establish better access across the area during wet weather and (3) berms could be built out in the lake itself and used to create additional water storage to be managed for aquatic foodstock and water.
 
OL SLOUGH BEHIND CUT-OFF - Bill Bartush of the East Texas Wetlands Project accompanied Jim to the spot behind the cut-off, and considerable time there was spent examining several different possibilities for wetlands enhancement as a part of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation project.
 
 
Wetlands Behind Cut-Off
Reed Ranch
 
It was decided that:
 
- the project is feasible and should be acted upon this year by requesting a NFWF extension for the time needed to construct it
 
- the dirt for the construction of an elevated road (containing a water control structure) should be obtained from the areas opened up by the selected timber cut that was done during the summer of 2000. The best areas that was found for this was (a) the area directly west of the long neck of the north-west slough pocket and (b) the area north of the east-west lengthened slough area. Care will need to be taken not to disturb any of the seedlings that were planted during the TPWD forested wetlands project.
 
- as the dirt is removed, wetlands depressions would be shaped to create additional spots which would hold water during certain times of the year. This would create small depressional water habitat areas for various species of waterfowl, frogs, birds, etc.
 
- in the future, the wetlands depressional areas that would be created by dirt removal would be used for an additional re-forestation project, accomplished through the use of ETWP cost-sharing. It was also found that Bill Bartush had experience in the type of controlled burns that could be used for site preparation. These burns could occur during the December - February time period and would be used to (a) stimulate plant growth (b) prepare sites for re-forestation projects and (c) prepare sites for seed distribution.
 
- a water control structure would be installed in the elevated road to control the amount of water held. The slough area would be drawn down at certain times of the year to allow aquatic vegetation for waterfowl to flourish, much in the same manner as explained above for the bearman lake project.
 
- the natural spill-way at the east end of the elevated road would continue to remain to do its job
 
- the road would be elevated and be very wide, offering only a small, gradual rise in elevation. The elevated road would follow the same path as the natural elevation, thereby reducing the amount of dirt that would need to be moved.
 
- within the slough itself, where there is considerable swamp privet growing, there would be openings created for waterfowl. It was found that the swamp privet which is growing in the slough now is a valuable resource (for nesting habitat, thickets for wildlife cover, etc.). Because of this, the slough should be managed in a manner which will not destroy the swamp privet, but create a diversity of openings and thickets of the type presently found in the slough area now.
 
SOUTH PASTURE SLOUGH EAST - because of the difference in the establishment of the clump grasses in this area (as compared to the south pasture slough west site), it was felt that this area should receive the most attention initially. A survey team from the NRCS are expected to come out in the near future to survey both south pasture sites. From this survey, a plan will be drawn for wetland depressional areas to be created. These areas will be irregular to kidney shaped and will be composed of both high and low areas designed to hold water for longer periods of time. At site work time, the opportunity will be created for additional switchgrass and gamagrass seed distribution.
 
 
Wetlands South Pasture
Reed Ranch
 
SOUTH PASTURE SLOUGH WEST - this area already has a substantial establishment of tall-growing, clump grasses of the type desired (mainly alamo switchgrass and eastern gamagrass) for a depressional wetlands site. Because of this, care will need to be taken to move and stockpile top soil off the site for use after the site is completed. After site completion, this seed-bearing top soil will then be moved back on top of the site. By doing this, the valuable clump grass seedstock and many of the established root structures will be re-stocked in an area well-suited for its continued growth.
 
During the construction phases of both east and west south pasture sloughs, road work will be needed north of the slough areas. This road work would be done so additional water storage in the two narrow sloughs that cut through the woods north of the slough areas could be used more effectively.