Creation, management, and research on lakes and ponds at Patuxent Research Refuge



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From 19391966, approximately 450 acres of impoundments were created for recreational and wildlife conservation purposes at Patuxent Research Refuge. Impoundments were of three major designs: impounded ravines, excavated basins, and impounded swamps. Over 50 species of wetland plants were transplanted to impoundments of Patuxent to determine best species for relatively infertile waters. The wood duck was the only waterfowl species commonly observed on the Refuge when the area was established. Waterfowl, including Canada geese, mallards, and black ducks, were introduced and numerous techniques developed to improve nesting and brood habitat. The impoundments also provide migration and wintering habitat to 24 species of waterfowl. Management techniques include drawdowns of water every 35 years in most impoundments to decrease problems from floating plants and to oxidize organic material. Drawdowns are timed to allow sufficient time for waterfowl brood development in the spring, but also allow optimum time for the development of plant species (e. g., red-rooted sedge and smartweed) that grow in moist soil conditions. This procedure has become known as moist-soil management and is now used on many state and federal wildlife refuges throughout the country. Research on the impounded wetlands at Patuxent during the 1950-70s included evaluation of vegetation in regard to water level management, nest box design to reduce use of boxes by starlings, and imprinting of waterfowl to elevated nesting structures to reduce predation on nests, especially from raccoons. During the 1980-90s, new smaller impoundments were constructed to increase the possibilities of conducting research on acid precipitation and to act as tertiary treatment of wastewater coming from the National Wildlife Visitor Center. Lakes and ponds at Patuxent Research Refuge are presently used for multiple purposes including wildlife habitat, flood control, nutrient removal, fire fighting, environmental education, recreation (especially fishing and hunting), and research.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Creation, management, and research on lakes and ponds at Patuxent Research Refuge
Year Published 1997
Language English
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Other Government Series
Larger Work Title Proceedings, 10th Annual Virginia Water Conference '97, March 9-11, Fredericksburg, Virginia
First page [unnumbere