Water is pumped into moist soil units in the fall to provide winter waterfowl habitat.
Moist soil management provides a combination of food and cover resources for a variety of wildlife, including waterfowl, wading birds and shorebirds. This requires a variety of structure, water depths and seasonal water availability. The refuge biologist carefully plans the management of each unit, deciding when units should be drained and flooded and whether disking or mowing is needed to make the vegetation more favorable for wildlife. Other units may remain flooded throughout the year to provide habitat for breeding wood ducks and other resident wildlife, as well as reduce woody plant encroachment into the ponds.
Dahomey NWR and the surrounding landscape was historically a vast bottomland hardwood forest. Today, most of these lands have been deforested and planted in agricultural crops. As the refuge acquires agricultural land, it is retired from crop production and replanted in native hardwood tree species, including a variety of oaks, hickories and ash. Reforesting these areas is helping to connect remnant patches of forest and provide various successional stages and structure for wildlife habitat.
Invasive species can be native or exotic, but both are
characterized by aggressively colonizing areas and forming monocultures (plant
communities dominated by one species). The negative impacts of invasive species
are as numerous and diverse as the variety of invasive species themselves. At
Dahomey NWR, staff not only remove invasives, they also prevent their
introduction and spread. Unfortunately, many invasive species have been
established so long and are so widespread (like fire ants), that their complete
removal is impossible. For those species, selective control is used by
targeting areas that are most important for wildlife and habitat management.
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Easily identified by their solid yellow body and gray wings, this bird is a common sight at the refuge during the summer.