Milford Wildlife Area News
2013 Lower Smith Renovation
The Milford Wildlife Area management staff will be temporarily closing access to the Gatesville Boat Ramp located on 10
Road southwest of Clay Center. The closure will enable the renovation of the Lower Smith Bottom wetlands. The rock bluff directly north of the boat ramp will be removed and the rock will be used on site to rebuild the interior dike on Lower Smith Bottom. The end results of this project will be a larger parking lot capable of accommodating numerous vehicles with or without boat trailers, a stabilized river bank and a functional interior dike that will provide access for improved wetland management. This project will be completed in three stages. Phase one is site preparation and is currently in progress. Phase two will be breaking rock and repairing the interior dike. Phase three will consist of hauling rock to stabilize the river bank. The closure of the boat ramp access will be for an indeterminate amount of time and is necessary due to the scope of the project and dangers of falling rock and heavy equipment being used.
2012 Wetland Repairs
Mall Creek Wetland and Parking Lot
The mall creek dike has been repaired and over half a mile of the bank armored with shot rock to help prevent future erosion. The mall creek parking lot was also rebuilt to increase it's size and functionality. There are now 2 boat ramps, one larger one granting access to the creek and one intended to be used by layout boats providing direct access to the wetland when water levels are high. A future goal is to dig a canal from the parking lot into the wetland and create more potholes when weather, conditions and equipment allows for it.
Gravel boat ramp granting access to Mall Creek from the parking lot. Repaired break in dike and armored Republican River bank along Mall Creek Wetland.
Republican River Weirs
The river weirs on the Republican River along 13th Road near Otter Creek were also repaired. We had to build up 3 of the weirs and armor the curved bank with shot rock and rip rap.
West Broughton Youth/Mentor Area
Over 2,000 feet of PVC pipe was buried this past spring to help improve the efficiency of pumping water to the wetland cells and eliminate flooding the neighboring private property. A valve on the pump was also replaced.
A new parking lot was built on Zach Hudec to accommodate more vehicles. Minor dirt work was also done to help spread the bentonite clay in the first cell and remove the hump in the middle of the cell to provide more surface acres on the first cell.
The discharge pipe was extended by 140ft on the new stationary pump on north smith to provide for better management access and concrete was poured around the pump to repair the flood erosion.
The phase converter needed to provide electricity to the stationary pump is currently out for repairs. We are hoping to have a new one purchased and installed prior to duck season and are working as quickly as possible to make this happen. A minor leak on the discharge line will also be repaired prior to this pumping season.
2012 Wetland Forecast
As mentioned in the above paragraph we have used this drought to get some much needed repair work done in some typically hard to access areas. The electrical sites will soon be repaired or replaced as needed to provide for our portable pumps. Due to the drought conditions and low water levels on Milford Lake it is still unclear if we will be allowed to pump this fall. Slats have been installed on Mall Creek wetland and Cane Creek to catch any available creek flow. All wetlands, with the exception of Mall Creek, are currently dry and have more than adequate vegetation. Mall Creek wetland has a few small pools that are quickly drying up. 50 acres of Japanese millet was broadcasted on the various mudflats that were available the first week of July.
Handicapped Vehicle Access Permits Available For Two Designated Areas on Milford Wildlife Area
Both areas will remain open to regular public hunting but will also be available for handicapped vehicle access by special permit.
A valid state issued handicapped permit and a permit from Milford Wildlife Area is required.
Please call the Milford Wildlife Area office for more information 785-461-5402.
North Area: Southwest of 13th Road and Rainbow Road Intersection
South Area: Northeast of Ava Road and Rebecca Road Intersection
Year-Round Prescribed Burning
The Milford Wildlife Area will be conducting prescribed burns throughout the year. The timing of these burns varies according to our management goals for each burned patch. Overall, we aim to control/reduce woody invasion, noxious weeds and promote more forbs in our grass stands to provide better brood habitat for upland game birds and provide other benefits to many wildlife species.
This year we have begun cutting old hedgerows in hopes of promoting new growth that will offer a good quality of cover for numerous wildlife species, particularly upland birds. Four partial hedgerows have been cut since April of this year. Depending on sprouting response and growth rate we will plan on returning in a few years to cut and resprout the remaining portion. We will move around the area periodically to cut hedgerows. Firewood permits are required to cut any dead AND down wood and are available free of charge by calling our office at 785-461-5402. Firewood is for personal use only and may not be sold for profit. Vehicles are not allowed off of maintained roads or inside gates or "no vehicles allowed" signs. Trees will be piled along roadways where practical. This fall/winter we may advertise a few hedgerows available for cutting free of charge with a signed contract and a list of stipulations. If we choose to advertise hedgerows we will run an ad in the Clay Center Dispatch.
New Gates and Parking Areas
Numerous gates and parking areas have been and will continue to be constructed on the area. These parking areas are meant to provide a safe area to park vehicles off of roadways while visiting the area. Several dead end roads have been closed, some may be open seasonally as posted from March 1-October 1 unless posted otherwise. The primary objective of installing the gates is to improve the overall integrity of the wildlife area by restricting vehicle access. These gates should not only improve constituents wildlife interactions, they will also reduce the high volume of trash, off-road vehicle use, poaching and vandalism that has occurred on the area in the past. The Steve Lloyd upper and lower refuge is closed to all activities year round, while the rest of the Wildlife Area is open to foot traffic within the gated areas.
Dove Field Maps
This year we have 8 sunflower fields ranging in size from 4 to 19 acres each. There is one field on the West Broughton Youth/Mentor Area where non-toxic shot is required and each adult must be accompanied by a youth 18 yrs old or younger. Daily dove survey cards will be available at each dove field through the first 10 days of season. Vehicles are not allowed past the parking areas or "No Vehicles Allowed" signs. There may be a few small patches of wheat stubble mowed near sunflower fields where practical. Due to the drought conditions we will most likely NOT be burning wheat stubble this year. Strips will be mowed in the sunflowers at two different times this year during the last two weeks of August.
Scouting is encouraged for best hunting results.