A new management plan began in the summer of 2017. In order to control cattails, aerial spraying was conducted with herbicide approved for use over water, and dead cattail thatch was subsequently mowed down. This took place over ~300 acres in the eastern portion of the marsh-pool complex. Spraying and mowing will be done later this year for the western side of the marsh-pool area (see below).
|View toward northwest (left) with Hoisington in the background and Blood Creek to far left. Looking toward the northeast (right) showing Deception Creek and its small delta in the marsh-pool complex. Note the rough texture of cattail thatch in foreground. These portions were not sprayed and mowed last year. Compare with next images.|
|Overview toward the southeast (left) with the state wildlife area in the distance. Aerial spraying and mowing were conducted in the foreground portion of this view. Closer view of sprayed and mowed area (right).|
|A wet meadow occupies the zone between our primary study marsh and Blood Creek to the south. We recognized a distinct, shallow channel (red dots) that meanders across this meadow, as shown by its vegetation pattern. This channel was not noticeable in previous years. Blood Creek appears in the background of both views.|
|Oblique views to the northwest (left) and northeast (right). Active vegetation is bright orange, including winter wheat fields in the background. Dormant cattail thatch appears pale orange to light gray, and water bodies are dark blue in this false-color format.|
|View toward east (left) with DU/TNC area in foreground and state wildlife area behind. The inlet canal for the state wildlife area is marked (<). Looking northward (right). DU/TNC area in right foreground and private farmland in background.|
|Views toward the northwest. Overview (left) with Hoisington in the far background. Notice difference in water color reflecting recent influx of suspended sediment in far pools. Close-up shot (right) showing area of aerial spraying at scene center in July of 2018.|
|Views toward the northeast. Overview (left) shows area that was sprayed in August 2017 and again in July 2018 in right (*) background. Area in left foreground was sprayed only in July 2018. Close-up shot (right) displays linear stripes that reflect the pattern of spraying.|
|Left: overview northward. This portion of the marsh was not subjected to aerial spraying. Right: sun glint reveals standing water under the cover of dead cattail thicket. Kite flyers are at upper left.|
|Snow-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia marginata, KWG). This plant typically blooms in late summer, and when broken it releases a toxic sap with effects similar to poison ivy. It is considered weedy or invasive (USDA). Left: distinctive white-and-green leaves that surround small flowers. Right: wasp on the plant.|
|Small trees growing in the farther reaches of TNC marsh area not subject to aerial spraying. Left: eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana, USDA). Right: willow (Salix L., USDA). Neither is desirable in this prairie marsh situation.|
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|Left: zone subjected to aerial spraying previous year with mostly dead vegetation; open water appears nearly black. Sun glint (*) is reflected from smooth water surface, and sun glitter (>) is multiple small reflections from waves. Right: detail of blown-down tallgrass next to marsh. This swirling pattern is known as cow lick.|
|Looking to the northeast (left). A fence divides the scene in half. The area beyond the fence was treated by aerial spraying and mowing in previous years, but the area in front was not treated. Close-up view (right) showing high-water limit of recent flooding marked by wave-washed debris, known as wrack (<).|
|Overview toward west (left). Zone of aerial spraying in 2018 remains evident in right foreground. Closer view (right) showing cattle grazing on the drier meadow area.|
|Views toward the northeast. Deception Creek (left) and marshes beyond (right). These areas remain full of water at the end of the growing season.|
|Two views looking toward the southeast over the area that was subject to aerial spraying this past summer (of 2019). Most of the aquatic vegetation has been killed.|
|Low-height oblique views looking to the northeast (left) and west (right). These shots were taken with the Mavic 2 Professional UAS. Compare with kite photos (above) taken from higher vantage points.|
|Vertical shot taken from a height of 100 m. Whole scene (left) and close-up detail (right) showing mud cracks and cattle tracks at the margin of the marsh. This image was acquired by the DJI Phantom 4 Professional UAS.|
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We conducted kite aerial photography from the nature trail site next to the observation tower. The impact of aquicide spraying in 2018 was still quite evident with extensive patches of dead cattail thatch in the water-filled pools. What surprised us, however, was the spread of duckweed throughout the thatch areas. As seen from above the duckweed creates a bright yellow-green surface. Common duckweed (Lemna minor) resembles split green peas. It is the smallest and simplest of all flowering plants and is also one of the most common plants worldwide. Duckweed is an important food resource for birds and other wetland wildlife.
|Overviews looking toward the northwest with Hoisington in the background (left) and northeast with Deception Creek (right). Clear water appears black; silty water is tan-brown in color.|
|Overviews of wet meadows looking toward the southeast with the state wildlife area in the distance (left) and south showing Blood Creek (right).|
|Closer views of marsh looking toward the north (left) and west (right). The bright yellow-green areas are duckweed covering the water surface in areas of cattail thatch.|
|Left: live cattail in foreground and dead thatch in background with duckweed on water surface. Right: close-up view of duckweed covering water surface in thatch area.|
Areas of aerial spraying in 2017, 2018, and 2019 were quite evident especially for mudflats. Mudflats just above water level and still moist have a gray appearance; whereas, slightly higher and drier mudflats were covered with a lime crust and appear light gray to almost white.
|Pool and mudflats next to access road (left). Ground shot of bulrush at margin of mudflat (right). The chalky gray color is a lime crust left by evaporating water.|
|Reconstructed access road and disked mudflat (*) at scene center (left), and ground shot of recently disked mudflat (right).|
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