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Thread: Projects for the hayflats

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    Member akblackdawg's Avatar
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    Default Projects for the hayflats

    In responding back to Joe Meehan, I mentioned that I would be happy to work on any projects he has in mind. Here is his response. I am suggesting we ask for a meeting with him and sit down and see how much interest there is in us hunters working on a project or two this next year, possibly starting this winter. I brought up something like this about 3 years ago, but then I dropped the ball until too late in the winter. Seems I have more time this winter. Bud

    From Joe Meehan:

    Here are some project ideas that would specifically benefit waterfowl hunters:
    · Enlarged parking at Cottonwood Creek and Rabbit Slough (in the works)
    · Continued trail repairs on Cottonwood Creek ATV trail (always need help) – summer work
    · Repair of ATV bridge abutments at Cottonwood Creek (we need a crew, I’ll handle supplies) – spring/summer work
    · Clearing brush on nesting islands on Glenn Highway enhancement area (need help) – winter work
    · Constructing public blinds and tent platforms (need help organizing)
    · Installation of nest boxes (need help organizing and implementing)

    If you have a crew, especially some that are able to help organize and plan, let me know. Thanks
    Wasilla

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    I have been thinking of doing some nest boxes anyway. Sign me up for that one. I have a shop and all tools needed to build them. Duckdon email address safari@gci.net

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    Please keep me in the loop on this. I and my 2 teenage sons (14, 15) would like to offer our help and support. More than happy to do whatever is needed....I do not own snowmachines but 3 strong backs and good attitudes could be useful. We hunt every weekend and would love to improve the area. The last 3 projects appeal to us.

    Mark

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    I really, really, really, do not like the idea of public blinds, tent platforms, or cabins. Did I mention that I really, really, really don't like that idea.

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    I now have mixed feeling about the whole thing. I would be very willing to work on projects to improve the environment and enhance the duck population on the hayflats, such as the nesting box project and brush clearing in the area where they placed nesting box's a few years ago it that was successful. I am with those of you who want to keep the area from growing in popularity, but I don't think that will happen with the internet and any hunter with interest having the ability to do a search and read all about the hunting opportunities in south central. But we can make it more difficult for access. I am opposed to enlarging the parking access areas. I support signs, etc to keep people from overnight parking within 100 feet of the Knik river or rabbit slough launch areas. I have been there between 4-5 am and found motorhomes and other vehicles parked right in the middle of where we need to back in to launch boats. I think the only trail repairs necessary would be for erosion control, but I have never ridden my atv at cottonwood area so let others weigh in on that. I would support allowing hunters to build a blind on duck lake and leave it up for the season, must be 100% removed prior to the end of the season, and available for use only on a first come, first occupy basis, so you take your chances. I think blinds would have to be approved by permit and tagged with builders name and contct so responsibility for removal could be established, much like bear bait sites. Meanwhile I will continue to hunt out of my boat. I would like to see allowing use of a atv on the Knik side to move boats and gear back and fourth to the lake, ONLY. The boat access area to duck lake is moving further and further away from the lake each year it seems. I'm also wondering about a project to plant natural feed plants of some sort around the hayflats to enhance the duck population by providing feed for them. If this would be practical. That may require closing a portion of the flats to hunting. If say 1/4 of the hayflats were closed to hunting, and that area planted heavy with duck food, it would attract thousands of ducks and support a large population of ducks, that hunters could hunt in the remainder of the area. This would increase the duck population in the area. I do know many lower 48 refuges have closed areas and planted areas just to keep ducks around and feed them on their migration.

    I know some will not agree with my ideas, but lets hear yours and get a discussion going. Thanks, Bud
    Wasilla

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    I don't like the idea of any four wheelers on the Knik side, I know what you are thinking of Bud and it would be nice, but it would become a 4 wheeler zoo out there and it would get tore up. I also don't the idea of any constructed blinds even if they must be taken down and open to first come first serve, we have enough entitlement to areas out there, so who's blind is it if it is first come first serve and someone leaves their decoys out there all weekend, week, month, season......not much good can come of it.

    I am in the camp of leave good enough alone. Maybe some habitat improvements and nesting structures, but that is about it,imo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yukon View Post
    I am in the camp of leave good enough alone. Maybe some habitat improvements and nesting structures, but that is about it,imo.
    I guess I have to agree. Maintain, but don't make it any easier to access. The problem with all those public facilities, is that the public uses them. It's great if I am the first public there that day (in the case of the blinds).

    I do think we should harden the Cottonwood ATV trail out a little further. The ruts just get deeper, and then more braided, which is something the greenies hate, and I don't like it much either because I get stuck. There is a concern that it may contribute to draining of the swamp too, so it becomes a habitat issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryHyde View Post
    I guess I have to agree. Maintain, but don't make it any easier to access. The problem with all those public facilities, is that the public uses them. It's great if I am the first public there that day (in the case of the blinds).

    I do think we should harden the Cottonwood ATV trail out a little further. The ruts just get deeper, and then more braided, which is something the greenies hate, and I don't like it much either because I get stuck. There is a concern that it may contribute to draining of the swamp too, so it becomes a habitat issue.
    I agree also. Dont like the idea of building blinds as it tends to lead to conflicts, then creating a drawing system for the blind etc...which are the way things are down south. Permanent blinds are not generally useful, as things like flyways, wind, water levels etc all affect which spots are good when.

    I'm in for the habitat improvements, nesting boxes, brush clearing and enhancing feed (if practicle) also.

  9. #9

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    No public blinds please. No public tent platforms or public cabins either. The sooner the duck shacks go away the better. No four wheelers on the Knik Side.

    Thanks,

    Bob Shem

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    I wonder, would a wing drop box would be of any value? Very simple to build, easy to maintain, and could provide some sort of value for reporting age/species harvest information. I've been mulling over the same idea for grouse in the region but there's no reason we couldn't pull off a waterfowl wing bee if we can get a Biologist interested. It could be a good interpretive program for young folks to build/collect/ID wings as well as an ID refresher for the older folks.

    I see the interest for platforms, etc from the access side of things but I drag my feet on the idea and certainly wouldn't volunteer to go out and implement the plan. Nest boxes and/or platforms seem to be popular and a common citizen science activity that does have some conservation value without disturbing the "natural" state of the area. Someone want to go start a couple fires?
    Go Big Red!

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    Sign me up for the nest boxes and habitat improvement. Totally against the tent platforms, public blinds and 4 wheeler access. I will go one further and think it should be restricted. I have walked all over this area and yes a 4 wheeler would have been nice but I have been disturbed by them more than once and I would bet I have walked near you several times and you never new it., plus it erodes the habitiat. I like the idea of planting -- this would assist in preserving the populations and heck might even make the goose hunting better. More needs to be discussed on this but I think it is worth discussing. Public hunting grounds are exactly that -- hunting grounds with little frills, bring your own crap do you own scouting. If you want more than that hire a guide, go south and join a hunting club. I am in for the nest boxes how many do we need, when do we need them, and where do we send them?

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    Also like the wing drop box-- can not imagine a biologist not wanting this--

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    gawd....

    build all the boxes and a nesting sites you can, it wont do a bit of good on duck production, or having the ducks around to shoot until freezup. noone is using the marsh from May to Aug sans a few photographers, so nesting is not the issue,

    the "place" gets hammered 7 days a week from sep 1 on.

    sure Day 1 will be awesome just like every other year. but, too many people out these days to make a difference. too much other water where they aint getting blasted each and every day.

    leave it all alone - mother nature has and will ALWAYS do a better job than us humans.

    if i had an airbpoat....noway id ever hunt out there, too many other places id rather go

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    In responding back to Joe Meehan, I mentioned that I would be happy to work on any projects he has in mind. Here is his response. I am suggesting we ask for a meeting with him and sit down and see how much interest there is in us hunters working on a project or two this next year, possibly starting this winter. I brought up something like this about 3 years ago, but then I dropped the ball until too late in the winter. Seems I have more time this winter. Bud

    From Joe Meehan:

    Here are some project ideas that would specifically benefit waterfowl hunters:
    · Enlarged parking at Cottonwood Creek and Rabbit Slough (in the works)
    · Continued trail repairs on Cottonwood Creek ATV trail (always need help) – summer work
    · Repair of ATV bridge abutments at Cottonwood Creek (we need a crew, I’ll handle supplies) – spring/summer work
    · Clearing brush on nesting islands on Glenn Highway enhancement area (need help) – winter work
    · Constructing public blinds and tent platforms (need help organizing)
    · Installation of nest boxes (need help organizing and implementing)

    If you have a crew, especially some that are able to help organize and plan, let me know. Thanks
    new cars

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cutter View Post
    gawd....

    build all the boxes and a nesting sites you can, it wont do a bit of good on duck production, or having the ducks around to shoot until freezup. noone is using the marsh from May to Aug sans a few photographers, so nesting is not the issue,

    the "place" gets hammered 7 days a week from sep 1 on.

    sure Day 1 will be awesome just like every other year. but, too many people out these days to make a difference. too much other water where they aint getting blasted each and every day.

    leave it all alone - mother nature has and will ALWAYS do a better job than us humans.

    if i had an airbpoat....noway id ever hunt out there, too many other places id rather go
    Cutter, I find the undertones of your comments interesting. I just don't agree with ya. We as humans have impacted the earth to the point that mother nature can't "always do a better job". Guess I can't count on you to help with the nest boxes.

    charlesangl, I also have more time in the winter and winter is the time for nest boxes. As a kid growing up in Minnesota we did a couple seasons of putting up Wood Duck nest boxes and I am sure there are a few still out there. That was 40 years ago and I still feel we did the right thing. Duckdon

  16. #16

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    I stopped using my 4 wheeler at Cottonwood. 5-6 years ago was a wet year, the water was high and the wheeler trail out along the inlet was acting to channel the runoff/overflow like a creek into the guts coming off Rabbit Slough. There was current. This coincided with high tides and the guts were advancing daily(!!) toward the marsh. Didn't take a rocket scientist to see that if the gut reached the marsh, drainage would be inevitable. One only has to look at the original trail markers to gauge the advance of the guts.

    Bottom line, it was clear to me that at that time and in that situation the wheeler trail was endangering the marsh.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose&Duck_Hunter View Post
    Also like the wing drop box-- can not imagine a biologist not wanting this--


    Is there some specific goal, conservation concern or other reason to have wing drop or just make more work for the public sector? Seriously, what's the point?

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    Quote Originally Posted by extrema View Post
    Is there some specific goal, conservation concern or other reason to have wing drop or just make more work for the public sector? Seriously, what's the point?
    I'll take this one since it was my suggestion. I can't cite any specific conservation concerns because I'm new to the area and have only duck hunted the Mat-Su twice. However, this would be a great citizen led project that could contribute to the knowledge, interpretation, conservation, and management of the area. Instead of paraphrasing, I'll just include the following link; http://central.flyways.us/surveys/su...ucted/wing-bee. I personally tend to trust the activities of biologists that make their living studying waterfowl.

    It will certainly give insight into local age and species information and could also identify the direction and magnitude of shifts in demography as the season progresses. It could involve hunters and non-hunters alike in the construction and maintenance of these boxes. It can serve as an opportunity to learn waterfowl identification or refresh the natural history knowledge for those of us that have been "in the business" for a while. There is a request for wings/tails of upland game by the new small game biologist but without having the drop boxes near where the game is taken, I'm guessing the submissions will be low to moderate AT BEST. This would be convenient and cheap while demanding little for financial resources or manpower.

    It could be a recruiting tool to introduce young/new hunters into the game and provide a mentoring opportunity for folks to spend time with "elders" that can help shape the conservation ethics of the area by promoting participation in the conservation and management of the waterfowl we all persue. That is the point.
    Go Big Red!

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    PG I totally agree on all the point sited in support of a wing drop.

    How is it really more work to drop a wing off at a box as you exit. Just me but I do not find that difficult. My father is a wildlife biologist down south and these kind of activites enable them to collects mounds of data that otherwise would not have been collected due to buget constraints. The data can then be used to do many things -- heck they can even be given to private sectors such as DU. Data give the biologist an argument when they see something happening--- otherwise they have to spend years gathering the data to then go back and make the argument that knew was correct all along. Anyway-- not to difficult to assist in this effort.

    It is a little concerning to me to hear the negative overtones on hear concerning the marsh and willingness to at least maintain the marsh. Mother Nature provides very well but we all need to read the story of the "Little Red Hen" and understand that nothing is free -- as long as we inhabit the earth we owe it work to improve or at least maintain so our grandkids can enjoy it. Change is going to happen and the marsh will probably never be like it was 30 years ago and in 30 years will be differnt than it is today but doing something to maintain it is never a bad idea.
    Thanks to all of you who have an open mind on here to discuss and to those of you that are just nay sayers think about the future and if you still do not want to be apart why is it necessary to be negative for the sake of negativitiy.



    I still vote nesting boxes, clean up, and planting. also restrictions in wheeler use or at least a long hard look to see if there is a possibility of the erosion causing a drainage issue. If this were to occur the marsh would be gone as it would take millions to levee it back to hold water.

  20. #20

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    I have read nothing to suggest anyone is being negative for the sake of negativity and it is a cheap shot to paint those who disagree with you that way.
    Still not at all convinced a bunch of public works improvements and programs are at all necessary out in that marsh; that more government window dressing is going to add to anything except more bloated government. We don't need board walks or any of the rest of that junk. We just need to be left alone.

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