More Plans for Improvements to San Jacinto Wildlife Area for Next Season

On 6/18/11 a meeting was held at San Jacinto Wildlife Area with Tom Trakes and a group of hunters to get ideas for possible improvements for the coming season at the refuge. Tom took the group around the refuge and several possibilities were brought up by Tom and by the hunters regarding things that could be changed and improved for the coming season.

While touring the area we noticed that the Swamp Timothy was thick in many areas and had flowered and gone to head. There was also some Wild Alfalfa and even some Teal Weed growing around the refuge. All the food plants were nice and green and should attract a lot of ducks when the season rolls around. There were still some ducks in the area, although many of the ponds are now dry or nearly so. Most of the Walkers and the F’s are still holding water but are in the process of being drained so work can begin towards next season.

Swamp Timothy

Ducks “relaxing” at SJWA

There seemed to be a consensus by the group that there should be some more pit blinds in the area. Tom offer that they would try to get a couple of new pit blinds in the Walkers area, specifically Walkers 4 and 10 and that the old pit blind in Marsh V would be replaced with a large concrete pipe pit blind. These are the same type of pipes that are serving as pit blinds in Walkers 7 and 8 except they are almost three times as big in diameter so these should be a lot more comfortable then the existing Walkers pit blinds.

Tom also said that they may be removing the levee between B-5 and B-2 making the B’s one big pond. Blind B-5 would likely be removed and the walkway out to B-2 would be taken down so that it is underwater, making B-2 an island again.

Over in the C ponds Tom told us that they may remove the levee between C-1 and C-2 making one large pond for the C’s (as in the B’s above). C-1 will be moved from the large island near the south end of the pond to a location near where the levee was in the middle of the two C ponds. C-4 would be left in the north end of the pond. C-2 would be removed and C-3, in the southeast corner of the C pond, would become the new handicapped blind. They are going to build a good, planked walkway out to C-3 and plank the blind floor. And, speaking of the handicapped blinds, B-4, the other handicapped blind, would have the walkway and blind floor planked, as in C-3 to improve the handicapped access.

At the A pond Parking lot Tom is wanting to put in a culvert for the road going into the ponds so that there is no problem with access to the A and western B blinds from the A parking lot during wet weather.

Tom was asked about Ponds 1,2,3 and 4 and stated that they would some day like to lower those levees at least a couple of feet, scrape off the top of the islands inside the ponds and make them uniform depth, open water ponds which would be a great improvement for hunting them as well as allowing them to control the water for vegetation growth. As these ponds are now it is impossible to drain them and get equipment into them to do any work. As Tom says, “In a wildlife area you must control the water and never let the water control you or you can’t control your vegetation.” Tom said that this project would require an environmental report before it could start so that one might be a few years out.

It was an interesting day and there was much learned by all who attended. It was also interesting to see the ponds in their day state where one could see what they had been walking across while wading the ponds last season. Also, Mystic lake was still well up, probably about ¾ full so it looks good for chances of having Mystic still holding water this coming season.

Mystic Lake

Dry Pond

As usual Tom has gone the extra mile by hosting this meeting and actually listening and considering what each person had to say. Tom never writes off an idea without truly considering it and really does listen to the end user, the hunter. Tom should be congratulated on his responsiveness to the hunting public and we are fortunate to have him, Scott, Dirk, Aurelio and Tim running, maintaining and improving this refuge. As far as everything listed here Tom wanted to stress these are proposals and it depends on many factors what actually gets done. Also, these improvements may not all get done this year, it depends on many factors such as weather, time, money and equipment but things will progress towards these changes as time goes by.

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