There have been some questions about the water levels in Heron Pond
(Riverlands) this spring and "Why is the water being allowed to go up
instead of staying low for shorebird habitat?"  The following is a quote
from a note sent out by Paul Bauer about this situation there and I have
some further comments below.

From Paul Bauer :  " HERON POND WATER LEVEL:   Charlie Deutsch explained
that they plan to keep the water level in HP as high as
possible until the Fall draw-down for Shorebirds.  The reason is to try to
kill more vegetation, with the goal of
getting an increased area of Shorebird habitat.  The "Real Enemy" of the
desired Shorebird habitat has been
the continued extensive and rapid growth of cat tails and willow trees.
        Later while I was sloshing through the mower-cut trails on the east
side of HP,  I could understand the problem:
every willow twig that had been cut last fall was now sprouting with one or
more new shoots !    You can see the
excessive amount of cat tail growth from the road;  left unchecked they can
fill in the entire shallow water regions
of HP.    DESIRED:  keeping shallow water areas open for Shorebird usage ! 

My own comment.  In my talk with Charlie he pointed out that what is being
tried this year is what I interpret as a counterbalancing effort between
Ellis Bay and Heron Pond.   Traditionally, Ellis Bay and the river are drawn
down in the spring and many mudflats are present in those waters if we do
not get flooding conditions.   In contrast, in the fall, Ellis Bay and the
river are always  kept at higher levels with almost no mudflats available
for shorebirds.   So, what is being tried this year is to keep Heron Pond
full in the spring in order to kill off the vegetation.  There should be
plenty of shorebird habitat on the river side.  In the fall Heron Pond will
be controlled for shorebirds to counterbalance the lack of habitat on the
river side at this time.  Charlie says that this is an experiment and his
staff is anxious to see how it proceeds.

John Solodar (St Louis Audubon Society liaison to Riverlands)
University City
St. Louis County, MO

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