Duck Creek Conservation Area is located nine miles north of Puxico on Highway 51 in Stoddard, Bollinger and Wayne counties. The Missouri Department of Conservation purchased the land for the area in 1950 in order to establish a waterfowl hunting area in conjunction with Mingo National Wildlife Refuge.
The 6,318-acre area has a wide variety of habitat types that support a diversity of plant and animal species, some of which are unique to Missouri. Duck Creek Conservation Area is a remnant of the bottomland hardwood forest that once covered the southeastern part of the state, most of which were in the former floodplain of the Mississippi River. This conservation area contains 1,500 acres of open marsh, 2,700 acres of bottomland forest which includes, 1,200 acres of managed greentree reservoirs and a 1,800 acre lake.
The area is managed to provide a diversity of food and shelter for migratory and resident wetland wildlife. Pool 1 is a 1,800 acre manmade reservoir that supplies water to the greentree reservoirs to mimic the flooding that once occurred naturally. Wells provide water for flooding the open marsh units. Managers manipulate water levels on about 2,700 acres of managed wetlands.
Open marsh areas are dried out in the summer to produce a variety of native plants that provide seeds and tubers and harbor important invertebrates for waterfowl and other wildlife. Flooding is initiated in the fall to provide habitat for fall migrating shorebirds, rails, and waterfowl. Bird use continues throughout the winter. Wetlands remain flooded throughout wet springs as birds migrate back through the region heading north. The area's 1,200 acres of managed greentree reservoirs provide critical resources for migratory and wintering waterfowl. These forests offer an abundance of acorns and invertebrates to help meet the energetic needs for dabbling ducks. This habitat also provides critical cover during courtship behaviors as pair bonds form between ducks through the winter months. Later in the spring hooded mergansers and wood ducks utilized these woods for nesting.
Duck Creek CA is undergoing major renovations to aging infrastructure as a part of MDC's Golden Anniversary Wetlands Initiative. Work on the Phase I contract was completed in October 2012. The Phase II contract is scheduled to begin in July 2013 and be completed by 2015. Funds provided by multiple partners including MDC, DU and others were matched by two $1 million North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants.