Pennsylvania Game Commission employees and volunteer members of the North Branch Susquehanna Chapter of Delta Waterfowl recently planted more than 50 pounds of browntop millet along the banks of two waterfowl impoundments on State Game Lands 239 in Athens Township, Bradford County.
The cooperative effort will create additional food for several waterfowl species during their fall migrations. Browntop millet was chosen because it matures quickly, tolerates flooding, and produces a large quantities of hardy, nutritious seedheads.
The Game Commission manipulates impoundment water levels to provide optimal planting conditions and the timing of the SGL 239 project took place when its ponds were going through a drawdown. Drawdowns reduce the volume of water in impoundments and provide seed with the most favorable conditions for germination and growth.
“In some years, there is not a great response from the wetland-plant community, so we supplement the existing growth with additional plantings,” said Game Commission Land Management Group Supervisor Phil Kasper. “Supplemental plantings also benefit fish and amphibians by providing broader vegetative diversity once the water level is brought back to full pool.”
In addition to planting food for ducks and geese, Delta Waterfowl volunteers checked wood-duck boxes for nesting success and picked up litter around the ponds.
“The Game Commission would like to thank the members of Delta Waterfowl and their families for taking part in this valuable project,” Kasper said. “Wildlife always wins when volunteers step up to make a difference.”