Because St. Catherine Creek NWR was
established for wintering waterfowl, and because it is within the floodplain of
the Mississippi River, water management is the most important management tool for
the refuge’s resources. Water levels are
actively managed on nearly 1,500 acres of refuge impoundments or shallow water
pools. Levels are managed to provide a variety of wetland conditions to produce
plants for ducks, mudflat for shorebirds, and shallow water for wading birds.
By raising and lowering water levels throughout the year, refuge staff has the
ability to simulate natural and dynamic wetland cycles.
St. Catherine Creek NWR has an
active cooperative farming program for the primary purpose of providing food
and other needed habitats for waterfowl and other wildlife. Through a cooperative farm agreement, the
farmer utilizes a portion of the refuge to plant crops and leaves or plants
unharvested grain crops such as corn, milo, or rice for refuge wildlife as
rent. Utilizing the farmer to manage
early succession habitat and provide high energy foods for ducks and geese, this program allows the refuge to fulfill its purpose efficiently and successfully.
Deer hunting is a significant public use on St
Catherine Creek NWR but is also used to manage the deer herd and as a result
provide healthy habitat. Deer
populations should be reduced to under carrying capacity or at a density that
the habitat can support. Removing a
portion of the herd annually with the appropriate age structure and sex ratios
should result in a healthy herd.
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Forest songbirds are monitored as a key indicator for the health of the local forests. Learn more about other ongoing research projects at St. Catherine Creek NWR.