LINCOLN – An aquatic habitat project that began this spring at the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge south of Valentine will continue this fall and into 2016. The project addresses the presence of nuisance common carp in the system and their passage through the existing water control structures.
Control structures, berm improvements, fish barriers and dredging were planned at Watts, Hackberry, Dewey, Whitewater, Clear, Pelican and Willow lakes. Work has progressed and construction has been partially completed at both Watts and Hackberry Lakes. A water control structure and barrier designed to limit upstream carp passage and control high densities of carp migrating to the refuge lakes is underway at Willow Lake.
Progress has been made with channel clean-out between the lakes using heavy equipment for excavation and a hydraulic dredge which will allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) wildlife biologists to manage lake water levels, sport fish populations and waterfowl habitat more effectively in the future.
Construction and construction equipment along the public roads and trails will continue until freeze and resume as weather permits next spring. Road and trail closures could. The project should not affect access for ice fishing this winter on the refuge. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and USFWS appreciate the public's patience during this project.
This project is a cooperative partnership between the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Commission is using Aquatic Habitat Program funds for the project.
For more information, call Game and Parks' Zac Brashears at 402-376-8080 or Mark Porath at 402-471-5583. For information on the project or the refuge, call Juancarlos Giese, refuge manager, at 402-376-1889 or visit: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/valentine.