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A&H provides $75,000 grant for water conservation project at Summer Lake Wildlife Area
 
March 24, 2010

 

Summer Lake
Summer Lake
Wetlands habitat on the west side of the Summer Lake Wildlife Area will be greatly enhanced by the canal piping project.
Summer Lake
Gadwalls are one of the 15 species of waterfowl that nest at the wildlife area.
-Photos by Jim Yuskavitch, courtesy of ODFW-

SUMMER LAKE, Ore.—Waterfowl habitat at Summer Lake Wildlife Area in Lake County will see significant improvement from a water conservation project that will replace 1.3 miles of leaking earthen canal with a pipeline to retain water currently lost through seepage. The canal brings water from Ana Reservoir to flood about 3,000 acres of wetlands on the west side of the wildlife area.

ODFW’s Access and Habitat Program provided a $75,000 grant towards the project. The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District are contributing $754,122, Ducks Unlimited is contributing $225,000 and the Summer Lake Irrigation District is providing $22,400 to the project.

Located at Summer Lake, the 18,677-acre Summer Lake Wildlife Area is owned and managed by ODFW as wetland habitat and is a prime location for waterfowl hunting and wildlife viewing. To provide wetland habitat, the area is flooded from May 1 through the summer by a series of canals. The canal that currently diverts water from the reservoir to the west side of the wildlife area loses up to 20 percent of water. This water would otherwise contribute to about 1,400 acres of the wildlife area and 1,300 acres of adjacent private wetlands, which provide a significant amount of wildlife habitat in the Summer Lake basin.

The west side of the wildlife area is intensively managed for duck production, resulting in nest densities of up to four per acre and as many as 10,000 ducks produced each year.

Oregon’s Conservation Strategy identifies Summer Lake as a conservation opportunity area and recommends improving water delivery as a key conservation action. The increased water available will also benefit other species that dwell on the wildlife area including the black-necked stilt, long-billed curlew, snowy egret and western snowy plover.

Work on the piping project began in early February and is scheduled for completion by May 1 in time to begin flooding the area’s wetlands on schedule.

“The wildlife area will be greatly enhanced by this project,” said Summer Lake Wildlife Area Manager Marty St. Louis. “It’s been a less than ideal situation with the decreased water delivery.”

The Access and Habitat Program is funded by a $4 surcharge on hunting licenses and by deer and elk tag auction proceeds.  Funds raised by the program are distributed through grants to individual and corporate landowners, conservation organizations, and others for cooperative wildlife habitat improvement and hunter access projects throughout the state.

For information on the A&H Program call program coordinator Matt Keenan at 503-947-6087 or visit the website at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/lands/AH/

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Contact:

Michelle Dennehy (503) 947-6022

 
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