Michigan DNR improving waterfowl habitat at Crow Island State Game Area

If you notice something different at Crow Island State Game Area in Saginaw County this spring, don’t be alarmed. The Department of Natural Resources is making improvements to habitat for the area’s wildlife.

A water-level drawdown at Crow Island is occurring to accommodate the replacement of a water-level control structure on the East Unit of the state game area, along M-13. This project is in cooperation with Ducks Unlimited.

Duck hunters and other area users should expect little or no water throughout this unit this year. The drawdown will prepare the area for a prescribed fire this winter, designed to reduce cattail cover in the unit and improve habitat for a variety of waterfowl and other wetland-dependent wildlife.

Reducing cattail cover and replacing the water-control structure will allow managers to manipulate water levels to create a “hemi-marsh,” a 50/50 mix of vegetation and open water that is very attractive to waterfowl.

A cattail burn was scheduled to be conducted this spring, but due to heavy rains and subsequent flooding throughout the Saginaw River basin, including Crow Island, the burn was delayed. Area managers will likely conduct the prescribed fire early next winter, when ideal conditions are present and the water-level control structure replacement is complete. Doing so will give managers the greatest opportunity to achieve habitat management goals for this area.