Tibwin impoundments Walk & Talk
If you attended the Tibwin impoundments Think & Drink, you know how knowledeable our host, Matthew Marbert, is about the work he does as the manager of the impoundments and green-tree reservoirs in the Francis Marion National Forest.
Our walk and talk with him didn't disappoint!
Starting in the 'classroom' we saw the geographic area we'd be walking that morning, most of which is open to the public from the South Tibwin Hiking Trailhead off Hwy 17 near McClellanville. Check for closures for hunting season and prescribed burns though.
After the introductions, we ventured out to see the results of Matthew's hard work, which is continually ongoing! The impoundments were overrun with cattails when he arrived there as a new employee, and he elected to use several different techniques to start clearing the impoundments to create an environment more conducive to migrating and resident waterfowl and birds.
Here you see the prevalence of cattails, considered a 'weed' to Matthew, Alligator Grass and pine compared to another impoundment that is starting to show a more diverse plantscape, below
It was in this second impoundment that we saw several Black Bellied Whistling Ducks and a nesting Prothonotary Warbler! His efforts paying dividends!
Continuing our walk we learned that the goal is to have Wigeon Grass (below) as the primary plant in some of the ponds as it provides 700-1000lbs of seeds per acre, not to mention the invertebrates that live amongst the roots! All of which is food for the pond visitors!
We also learned how he drains the ponds on a regular basis, conducts burns and ploughs the ponds to stimulate new growth of the desired vegetation.
For a more detailed explanation of that, check out the YouTube video of the recorded T&D
Eventually we made it out to the ponds that did have a predominance of Wigeon Grass, and this is where we saw a nice variety of birds! Pictured are the Great and Snowy Egrets, Tri Colored Herons and a Black Necked Stilt (left of photo). The 4 or 5 Clapper Rails and Mottled Ducks we saw were a little too fast for me to photograph!
Matthew is assisted in his endeavors by only two interns from Clemson, so if you're in the mood to earn some volunteer hours, he would truly welcome you! Tasks vary from day to day, so contact him via email: Matthew.Marbert@usda.gov
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