Kentuckians are blessed with natural resources and abundant wildlife. We are on the edge of the Mississippi Flyway which funnels more waterfowl to their wintering ground than any other flyway.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife maintains a valuable wildlife resource on Lake Barkley. Called “Duck Island,” this man-made 400-acre island is a waterfowl reserve that is off limits to hunters from October through March to provide food, cover and a rest area for tens of thousands of migrating waterfowl.
In April 2010, I visited the Island with Pat Hahs, the Fish and Wildlife manager who manages the Island. Pat and his team plant the Island each year in corn, millet, and/or milo for the waterfowl as they migrate through Kentucky. In April, the Island was drained and almost ready to plant. Then the flood came – and the water rose about nine feet over the top of the Island. The team had to rescue their tractor and equipment on Sunday as the flood water neared the top of the Island.
High water did not allow any activity on the Island in May. In June equipment was moved back on the Island and most of the month was spent draining the Island in order to plant crops. Pat and his team worked 7 days a week for almost a month pumping water. Twice a day Fish and Wildlife personnel or Ducks Unlimited volunteers refueled and maintained the pumping system. In late June the Island was dry enough to plant some areas and by end of July, crops were planted.
On behalf of the ducks, geese, and other waterfowl passing through Kentucky this winter, Barkley Lake Ducks Unlimited thanks Pat Hahs, Brent Kearnes and James Hyatte for providing over 60 acres of corn, millet and milo. I personally witnessed a dedicated, professional team who went far above the norm to provide a valuable resource to the wildlife.
Barkley Lake Ducks Unlimited