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April 28, 2014

DNR and Partners Improve the Impoundment at Deal Island WMA

by kking

Crews posing in front of the newly restored pond The Maryland Department of Natural Resources teamed up with Ducks Unlimited, Agri Drain Corporation, the Maryland Waterfowler’s Association, and the National Estuarine Research Reserve to restore the habitat quality in the manmade pond, or impoundment, at Deal Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Somerset County.

“These changes have greatly enhanced our management capabilities and we have seen positive responses from submerged aquatic vegetation, marsh plants, and the wealth of birds that rely on them,” said DNR Game Bird Section Leader Bill Harvey.           

Deal Island WMA contains a 2,800-acre brackish (somewhat salty) impoundment that has a long history of being popular amongst waterfowl hunters, bird watchers, crabbers and kayakers. The impoundment is managed to encourage the proper mix of marsh plants and submerged aquatic vegetation beds in its network of ponds and tidal marsh.

The newly enhanced impoundment.

However, a variety of factors have made controlling the water levels within the impoundment difficult, resulting in the loss of marsh plants and reducing the size of the submerged aquatic vegetation beds. Consequently, fewer migratory birds such as waterfowl, wading birds and shorebirds have been attracted to the area.  

DNR secured a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant to fund improvements designed to allow more efficient control of the water levels in the impoundment. The project, made possible by the grant and matching funds from the partners, included several new water control structures, removal of the invasive plant Phragmites, planting marsh grass seedlings, and improved water quality monitoring.  Agri Drain Corporation of Adair, Iowa generously contributed four water control structures constructed of stainless steel and plastic polymers designed to withstand the high salinities present. 

For more information, contact Bill Harvey at 410-221-8838 ext. 108 or bharvey@dnr.state.md.us.

Keep up to date with DNR’s Wildlife & Heritage Service on Facebook and Twitter @MDDNRWildlife.

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