Results and Accomplishments
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at
Lake and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks achieve many goals through cooperative conservation. Cooperation between these two agencies began on July 1, 1960, the Secretary of the Army, under authority of Section 3 of the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, granted the state of Mississippi a license to use and occupy 84,585 acres of land and water composing the Grenada Lake project for fish and wildlife management purposes.
Lake and the M.D.W.F.P. have developed an outstanding cooperative relationship that is evident in the many projects and ongoing tasks they have undertaken. Joint projects and tasks include
Lake ’s Fish and Wildlife Management Plan,
Lake ’s Annual Fish Habitat Day, the Calhoun County Wildlife Management Area, the Fish Nursery Pond at Skuna
Turkey , The Thunder on Water Safe Boating Festival Children’s Fishing Rodeo, an annual deer survey, monitoring the health of fish and wildlife, and enforcing boating, game, and fish regulations.
Each year Grenada Lake Corps of Engineers Biologist, Sam Marter, creates an Annual Fish and Wildlife Management Plan. This plan contains a detailed outline of all the wildlife management practices that must be done throughout the year including, cleaning wood duck and bluebird boxes, controlled burns, moist soil management, and special events. Marter then meets with M.D.W.F.P. Biologists who review the plan and make recommendations. The plan is then approved by the Corps of Engineers District Office in
Fish Habitat Day is held at
Lake each year. This event is a cooperative effort between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the M.D.W.F.P., and many volunteers. This projects goal is to assist in the reclamation and establishment of fish habitat at
Lake . Habitat is provided by anchoring 1,200 felled cedar trees on the lake bottom during the lake’s winter conservation pool to form fish shelters. These shelters are then utilized as the lake elevation rises to its summer recreation pool. M.D.W.F.P. Fisheries Biologist, Keith Meals, assists with habitat day by advising
Lake biologists on how many fish shelters to place in the lake bottom and where to place them. Meals also conducts surveys on the lake during the spring and fall seasons to determine size and age of the fish, to check for disease, and to determine population size. Meals provides this information to a M.D.W.F.P. Commission, appointed by the governor, who then decide the slot and number limits. As a result of fisheries management,
Lake now holds the record for pounds per catch in a Crappie U.S.A. Tournament Trail. The new weight is 20.46 lbs for 7 fish making it an all time record high for all national crappie tournament trails.
Lake has also been named the number one crappie lake in the
United States .
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the M.D.W.F.P. manage the Calhoun County Wildlife Management area. This 1700 acre management area consists of man-made impoundments managed for waterfowl. The impoundments are drained in the summer to enable native plants to grow and to allow the planting of corn and millet. In October water is pumped from Sabougla Creek into the impoundments flooding the food crops in order to provide excellent wintering habitat for migrating waterfowl. During the peak migration ducks and geese are trapped, studied, banded, and released to assist waterfowl biologists in gaining a better understanding of waterfowl migration patterns and habits.
Lake along with the M.D.W.F.P. manage a 2 acre fish nursery pond at Skuna
Turkey located on Corps property. The M.D.W.F.P. hatch game fish from eggs in a state owned hatchery off project. When the game fish are fry size they are hauled in a tanker truck to the fish nursery pond operated by
Lake . These fish remain in the nursery pond until they reach fingerling size. The fingerlings are then released directly into the lake from the nursery pond which can significantly enhance the population of game fish.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the M.D.W.F.P. sponsor a children’s fishing rodeo each year during the Thunder on Water Safe Boating Festival. This is an extremely popular event that has attracted as many as 600 participants. The rodeo is held at the
Lake fishing rodeo ponds where the M.D.W.F.P. provide 1400 catfish to stock the ponds. Grenada Lake Park Rangers along with M.D.W.F.P. Conservation Officers teach the children to fish while promoting the water safety message. This is an important event that would not be possible without the cooperation of these two agencies.
Each year Grenada Lake Biologists and Park Rangers perform a deer survey that takes place at night on standardized routes. Surveyors count bucks, does, and fawns to determine deer density within their habitat range. This information is then shared with the M.D.W.F.P. and a plan is developed to assess habitat improvements, and/or special hunts to manage the population. An example of the usefulness of deer survey information involved an experiment conducted by M.D.W.F.P., the Corps of Engineers, and
University that required the capture of bred does throughout
Mississippi . The experiment studied the effect of soil quality on growth and reproduction. The survey information enabled us to pinpoint where the greatest density of deer populations were located.
The staff at
Lake along with biologists and conservation officers from the M.D.W.F.P. work together to prevent and monitor disease problems among fish and wildlife on Corps property. They also collect specimens, study them and develop an action plan to control disease problems. To date employees have been successful in handling outbreaks of distemper within the raccoon population and largemouth bass virus outbreaks in the lake.
The cooperative agreement between
Lake and the M.D.W.F.P. has lead to much success in the area of wildlife and habitat. Together these agencies have accomplished strip disking, prescribed burns, beaver pond manipulation, duck box and bluebird box upkeep, fish habitat placement, and wetlands management. These projects and tasks are very important in the operation of
Lake and would not have been possible without the cooperative relationship of these agencies.