Milford Wildlife Area News
New Youth/Mentor area signage
New signs will be posted on the West Broughton Youth/Mentor Area this month. The area will now be designated for “any and all uses” to be strictly Youth/Mentor Only, including the river access from the south road. Previous posting included “hunting” only and has caused some confusion on what activities are permitted. By broadening the definition we hope to get back to the original intent of the area when it was designated 10+ years ago. Regardless of what activity you are participating in on this area one youth age 17 or younger must be present per mentor age 18 or older.
Examples: hunting, trapping, fishing, game cameras, setting stands or blinds, scouting, etc.
The wetland pump has become increasingly inefficient these past several years and plans are being made to either repair or replace it by the fall of 2015. Plans are also being made to implement stream bank stabilization along two stretches of the river bank bordering the south edge of the Youth/Mentor Area. Engineers are working on these plans and permits will be applied for this winter. If everything comes together in a timely manner and conditions are favorable we hope to do both the pump work and stream bank stabilization late this summer.
Efforts are being made to improve the quality of our timbered areas. Both chainsaws and mulching/mowing are being done in various areas to reduce undesirable tree species (Locust, elm, hackberry, cedar) and promote desirable species (Oak, walnut, hickory). We recently completed some work near North Smith and Beichter Bottom. Undesirable trees were cut and piled or girdled and left standing. North Smith is planned to be burned this spring. Several other timber stands have been targeted as areas in need of improvement. The Mall Creek and Quimby Creek areas may also receive some TSI efforts as time and conditions permit. The majority of our desirable trees such as oaks are dying out or being shaded out by the undesirable species. Oaks are not a shade tolerate species meaning they require full sunlight to grow. Many of the areas where TSI has been done will look pretty bare for the first several years until the seedlings develop into young trees.
The portable trailer pumps were packed up the last week of November due to freezing temperatures. We attempted to wait out the freezing weather this year since it turned colder earlier than previous years. The pumps are too expensive and have too many moving parts to risk freezing. We did attempt to run them in freezing temperatures but it proved too difficult to continue. The stationary pump on Beicther and North Smith will continue to be run throughout the remaining duck season. The youth area pump did not run very well this season. We were able to fill the first pool by the youth waterfowl season but had very poor water flow shortly into the regular duck season and it eventually stopped moving water completely. Plans are under way to address the pump issue this year and efforts will be made to have it corrected by fall 2015.
The West Broughton Youth/Mentor area recently had some dirt work completed in anticipation of a functioning pump by next season. Several new culverts were installed to aide in the movement of both flood waters and pumped water. Stream bank stabilization projects are being designed to most likely install river weirs to reduce the stream bank erosion along two stretches of the river bordering the youth/mentor area. If designs are completed and permits attained we plan to complete at least the stretch near the pump late this summer.
A water control structure was installed on Beicther Bottom in August to allow for water to be held providing more floodable acres.
In June, we received several inches of rain causing the Republican river to spill into many of the wetland cells. The majority of the agricultural fields in the wetland areas were spared. The natural vegetation growth has been reduced in Mall Creek, Cane Creek refuge and the lower refuge as the water never fully drained from these areas. They are currently full and slats will be put in to hold what water we can but if the river or lake go down we will most likely have exposed mud in these areas.
North Smith- lower half is corn and upper half is beans, plan to start pumping in October
Lower Smith- natural vegetation looks good, nearly dry with only a few small puddles of water, plan to start pumping at the end of September
Mall Creek-June flood waters filled this wetland, mostly open water with some good natural vegetation around the edges, area was burned this past spring to reduce woody species
Quimby Creek wetland-Both north and south pools have a small amount of water in them from rainfall, corn along south pool area, plan to start pumping in October
Zach Hudec- the majority of the cells are planted to corn and have been harvested in strips, plan to pump in October
West Broughton Youth/Mentor Area-the lower cells are in corn again this year, plan to pump in October
Beichter Bottom- area was burned this past spring which produced a good vegetative response, a water control structure was installed on the south end which should allow more water to be held in the wetland, plan to pump in October
Martin Bottom- good mix of crops including corn on the lower end, plan to pump in October
KDWP&T staff and other volunteers will be hosting a youth duck hunt on October 25th. The hunt is open to all youth ages 10-15 years old. Youth must be registered by October 17th and space is limited. Breakfast and ammunition will be provided. Other equipment may available for use. Please call 785-461-5402 with questions or to register.
https://kdwpt.isportsman.net All hunters must register with ISportsman online and log in prior to hunting/trapping and log out after you are finished hunting/trapping. This website will be place of the Iron Ranger waterfowl survey cards and dove survey cards used in the past. A toll free phone number may also be used to log in and log out after you have registered 1-844-500-0825.
This year we have 8 sunflower fields ranging in size from 4 to 12 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.
Non-Toxic Shot is Required on all sunflower fields
West Broughton Youth Area:
This year we are hoping to correct some drainage issues on the south end of the West Broughton Youth Area and will also be armoring a portion of the river bank to help reduce the erosion that has been occurring the past several years. We are planning on performing this dirt work in the fall of 2014.
Zach Hudec Area:
Rock will be hauled in and placed near the pump site to address some minor erosion that was caused by the August 2013 flood.
Mall Creek Wetland:
Rock will need to be hauled in to repair some erosion on the spillway near the water control structure as well as expand the area that was repaired in 2012 to aide in management access. Plans are also being made to continue the bank stabilization project that was started in 2012. Permits are required and this portion of the work may not take place until 2015.
The discharge area on the south end of this area is in need of repair. A water control structure will be installed and improved spillways will be built to increase the floodable acres of this wetland. The stationary pump located on the north end of the wetland is also in need of repair. It is believed to have an obstruction lodged inside the pipe and will most likely require the pump to be removed and re-installed.
During March of 2014, the rock removal and stream bank stabilization project resumed and was completed the first week of April. The boat ramp and parking area was reopened for public use on April 4th. The stream bank both upstream and downstream of the boat ramp was armored to prevent future erosion using rock that was hammered out of the bluff to provide a larger parking area to better accommodate all users including those pulling boat trailers. Sixteen parking curbs have been installed to better facilitate the parking in, what was a very congested area. The stream bank downstream of the boat ramp was reshaped making the area more accessible for bank fishing.
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.
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.