MONTICELLO – Just in time for waterfowl season, Ducks Unlimited and its partners recently completed a wetlands restoration project on the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Cut-Off Creek Wildlife Management Area.

“Southeast Arkansas is known for its incredible waterfowling tradition,” DU Manager of Conservation Programs Craig Hilburn said. “And DU is proud to partner with the AGFC to continue to provide quality public hunting opportunities through projects like this one.

In a proactive effort to improve management capabilities and to ensure the continued availability of public waterfowl hunting habitat on the Cut-Off Creek Wildlife Management Area in Drew County, DU engineers and AGFC biologists designed and constructed a new water-control structure replacing several older water-control structures in service since the early 1990s.

“The new water-control structure and associated spillway provide the Region III Wildlife Management staff the ability to more efficiently manage more than 2,500 acres of bottomland hardwood forest habitat for waterfowl and waterfowl hunters,” AGFC Regional Wildlife Management Supervisor Mark Hooks said. “DU and AGFC have a well-established partnership, and this project is just one more tangible result of our mutual long-term commitment to improving wetland habitat throughout Arkansas.”

“Like all of our projects, the partners involved in the Cut-Off Creek restoration project made it possible,” Hilburn said. Partners on the project include DU, AGFC, War Eagle Boats, Wetlands America Trust, the North American Wetlands Conservation Council and numerous DU volunteers and supporters.

“War Eagle Boats is pleased to invest in important wetlands conservation work in ‘The Natural State,'” War Eagle Boats President Mike Ward said. “As the leader in wetlands conservation, Ducks Unlimited has a long-standing history of improving and providing habitat for waterfowl and opportunities for waterfowl hunters on public lands, and we’re happy to do our part to support that mission.”

AGFC waterfowl biologist Luke Naylor said the flooding of the WMA and subsequent waterfowl-hunting opportunity still is driven by rainfall and natural runoff patterns. “Which, given the very dry conditions we’re experiencing, means we’re still waiting on substantial rainfall – typically peaking in late December and January – to flood the area.”