The 2020-2021 waterfowl season will go down as one of the best in our almost 100 year history. It was a perfect storm. The ducks kept coming and we had new water, food and habitat to offer them all season long. A special thanks to John Carrington and crew for the outstanding job they did in managing the water, duck food production and the marsh habitat on the Club this past year.
As good as last year was, this year will likely be very different for a number of reasons. It appears we are in a drought cycle again. Hopefully it will only last a year, but there are no guarantees. This past winter was fairly dismal in term of snowpack. As many of you are aware, the current allocation of water from TCID is 70% for 2021. It may go lower than that according to the folks that manage TCID. To make matters worse, the irrigation season is slated to end no later than September 15th. Of all the limiting factors, having to take all of our water in July, August and (maybe) early September is the worst. The loss to evaporation will be huge as will the loss to seepage, etc. Having to put water on feed we would otherwise not flood at this time will ensure that the ducks will eat a bunch of it prior to the opening of the General Waterfowl season in mid-October, thus reducing our ability to attract birds as the season progresses.
When TCID says the irrigation season will end “no later than” September 15th, that means if the water holds out that long. There is a minimum pool requirement of 4000 acre feet in Lahontan Reservoir (to protect the fishery) and once that is reached the irrigation season is over, period!!! That could happen much earlier than 9/15. Many farmers who are now growing corn will use all of their water by early August as opposed to the alfalfa farmers who will take their water over a longer period. It is almost a certainty we will get to minimum pool at some point in August/early September.
We are currently working on a plan where the USFWS and the
Canvasback Club could join forces and hold back some of our water to be delivered in October and early November. We will continue to update you on this effort as the summer progresses. This is our best chance to salvage the waterfowl season in 2021-22.
Be well and enjoy your summer,