Hunters may have noticed that several of the marshes at Market Lake Wildlife Management Area near Roberts are lower than in previous years. “The drawdown of the marshes was done as part of a multi-year plan to improve habitat for waterfowl and increase the number of birds available for hunters,” says Habitat Manager Rob Cavallaro. “Shallow wetlands are typically more productive than deep lakes and attract more ducks.”
An extensive wetland review was conducted at Market Lake recently and the report determined that the marshes had become less productive over time and would benefit from periodic drawdowns. Exposing the mudflats promotes the growth of annual plants that produce seeds that float once the water level returns to normal. These plants then attract insects that benefit waterfowl seeking a quick meal during brood-rearing and migration. “We want Market Lake to be a waterfowl magnet,” says Cavallaro. “Several areas have already shown an awesome response to the drawdown and will look really attractive to ducks.”
Hunters will find marsh 1 and 2 at similar water levels to last year but marsh 3 and 4 will have less water than they are used to seeing. “I suggest that waterfowl hunters do a little scouting at Market Lake prior to their hunt,” suggests Cavallaro. “Conditions are really good but access will look different than it has in years past, and birds may be in different locations.”
Managers also applied a selective herbicide treatment during the summer months to reduce cattails in the marshes. These treatments will improve hunter access to areas that were previously inaccessible, and make the marshes more attractive to waterfowl for the upcoming hunting seasons.
To learn more about Market Lake Wildlife Management Area and other properties managed by the Idaho Fish and Game click here.