Milford Wildlife Area News
North smith, Lower smith, West Broughton Youth Area, Zach Hudec, Martin/Beicther, and Quimby will be pumped periodically throughout the waterfowl season. Portable pumps are currently being used on Zach Hudec, Lower Smith and Quimby and will be operated until temperatures consistently drop below freezing, usually until Thanksgiving. The stationary pumps on North Smith, Beichter/Martin and West Broughton Youth Area will be used as long as conditions and water rights allow, perhaps even into the late January season.
In early August, we received 11 inches of rainfall in 10 days causing severe flooding along the Republican River. The majority of the agricultural fields in the wetland areas were wiped out. The natural vegetation was also damaged by the flooding since most of the plants were not mature yet. The food value of both the agricultural crops and natural vegetation was negatively impacted by the flooding. Some natural vegetation may have time to grow and mature in the flooded agricultural fields and if conditions improve these areas most likely will be pumped starting in mid-October.
North Smith- 95% flood damaged beans and corn, some annual weeds grew since the flooding, good conditions
Lower Smith- natural vegetation looks good, currently holding a good amount of flood water
Mall Creek-August flood waters filled this wetland, mostly open water with some good natural vegetation around the edges
Quimby Creek wetland-Both north and south pools have a small amount of water in them from August rainfall, corn on north pool was not damaged, areas will be pumped starting in mid-October
Zach Hudec- 3 cells have flood damaged beans and 1 cell has flood damaged corn, area may be pumped in mid-October, good amount of natural vegetation coming in previously flooded areas, good conditions
West Broughton Youth/Mentor Area- flood damaged corn on lower cells and a small patch of milo on first pool, area will be pumped starting in mid-October
Beichter Bottom- nearly full from August flood waters, south end of wetland is eroded and needs to be repaired to increase floodable acres
Martin Bottom- flood damaged corn, approximately half open water and half flood damaged corn
This year we have 11 sunflower fields ranging in size from 5 to 20 acres each. The West Broughton Youth/Mentor Area field requires each adult to be accompanied by a youth 18 years 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. Strips will be mowed in the sunflowers at two different times during the last two weeks of August.
Scouting is encouraged for best hunting results.
New for 2013 Non-Toxic Shot is Required on all sunflower fields
The bridge located on 13th road that crosses Otter Creek west of the Broughton Bridge is complete and open for traffic .
Lower Smith Wetland Renovation Update
The Lower Smith Bottom/Gatesville Boat Ramp area will be reopened to the public beginning September 1
. The interior management access road is complete but the stream bank stabilization portion of the project has been postponed until the water levels drop. KDWP&T staff would like to keep the area open through the 2013 hunting season and resume the work no earlier than January 2014, weather permitting. A large portion of the limestone bluff has been removed to increased parking space. The parking lot will continue to be expanded in the future to provide rock for the stream bank stabilization project. The parking area and boat ramp will be closed again temporarily when the project resumes in 2014.
Steve Lloyd Lower Refuge Dike
The dike on the south end of the lower refuge wetland was broken from high flood waters. The break was repaired during the winter of 2013 and rock is being hauled during the summer of 2013 to armor the dike to protect it from future erosion and provide access for improved management of the wetland. The wetland is currently holding water and the vegetation looks excellent for attracting waterfowl.
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.
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.