Smith Waterfowl Production Area

in Clay County
520x222 Smith - Green Acres - Eckhardt - Hansen Vicinity Maps

Recent Management: The greater land relief between the wetland and the surrounding upland makes this wetland a popular place for waterfowl, especially ducks, during late spring storms. The monotypic stand of bulrush shelters the birds, while the small open-water pockets are not attractive to snow geese. Snow geese generally use larger, more open wetlands.

Management is aimed at reducing the amount of bulrush and creating more open areas for waterfowl. It is difficult to do because the wetland remains wet enough in most summers to prevent haying, burning or grazing. The west half was burned in the spring of 1999. Grazing was done on the same area during the summer months. Lanes were shredded in the bulrush to encourage the cattle to graze other parts of the wetland. Bulrush was decreased to 75 percent with 25 percent smartweed. During the spring-2000 migration, the wetland was heavily used by pintail and mallard. Near the end of the snow goose migration, snow geese began using the wetland.

The dry conditions of 2002 allowed for disking most of the bulrush in the wetland. In recent years, burning has been used with limited success. Burning on a portion of the upland, containing a large diversity of native plants, is done on a frequent basis to promote the seed production and harvest of native plant seeds.

In the fall of 2009, dry conditions allowed Ducks Unlimited to use their tractor and disk to disk the cattail and bulrush located in the wetland. We were also able to replace the existing electric motor on the well with a submersible pump. The submersible pump requires less maintenance, which allows us more flexibility in when and how long we operate the well. 

Facts About Smith Waterfowl Production Area

Location: 6 miles south and 3 1/2 miles east of Clay Center, Nebraska

Size: 480 acres: 226 acres of wetland, 254 acres of upland

GPS: N 40.433, W -97.976

PDF Map: Smith WPA