Ducks Unlimited recently completed the first phase of a wetlands restoration project at Brazos Bend State Park. Managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), the park provides Houston-area residents outdoor recreation opportunities including fishing, wildlife watching, camping and hiking.

“Improving water-management capabilities and restoring the area’s natural water cycle will make the habitat better for waterfowl and other wetland-dependent species, as well as providing more year-round resources,” said DU Regional Biologist Greg Green. “Previously, unmanaged drainage during spring and summer months prevented the use of Pilant Marsh as brood-rearing habitat by wood ducks, black-bellied whistling ducks and other wetland wildlife.”

DU completed construction of a new dam and water control structure in June to restore hydrology to the 183-acre Pilant Marsh and the surrounding swamp.

“This project restores the natural water cycle of Pilant Marsh, allowing it to stay wet through the spring, slowly dry in the summer, then refill each winter without flooding and harming surrounding upland forest,” said TPWD Natural Resource Coordinator Andrew Sipocz.

This phase of the project was funded through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Coastal Program and a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant secured by Ducks Unlimited.

Staff from TPWD, Ducks Unlimited and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are planning phase two of the restoration work, scheduled for the coming year.  The work will include aerial spraying to control invasive Chinese tallow trees and planting of native oak and other hardwood species.

Image courtesy Ducks Unlimited

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