Summer Lake waterfowl benefit from project; groups donate more than $1 million for habitat

Waterfowl at Central Oregon's Summer Lake Wildlife Area will see better nesting habitat beginning this spring by the piping of 1.3 miles of canal that feeds about 3,000 acres of wetlands on the state-owned property.

The project will cost more than $1 million and includes donations from Ducks Unlimited, as well as Oregon's Access and Habitat Program.

The money will be used to replace the earthen canal that brings water from Ana Reservoir to the 18,677-acre wildlife area, which currently loses about 20 percent of the diverted water through seepage in the canal, according to the ODFW.

The piping will ensure that all the water gets to the wildlife area's west side, which is managed intensively for duck production and produces as many as 10,000 ducks a year, the agency estimates.

The improved system also is expected to help other species there, such as the black-necked stilt, long-billed curlew, snowy egret and western snowy plover, ODFW spokeswoman Michelle Dennehy says.

The piping is expected to be completed by May 1, when the wetland flooding from the canal begins, Dennehy says.

The final piece of the financial puzzle for this project came earlier this month with the approval of a $75,000 grant from the states' A&H Program, which is funded by a $4 surcharge on hunting licenses and by deer and elk auction proceeds.

The Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District is contributing $754,122, while Ducks Unlimited is contributing $225,000 and the Summer Lake Irrigation District is providing $22,400.

The full-bore discipline of the Medford Rifle and Pistol Club will hold a competition Sunday in White City for shooters firing rifles at targets up to 600 yards away.

The match is open to club members as well as shooting aficionados and hunters looking for an alternative opportunity for long-range shooting practice.

The event begins with registration at 8:30 a.m. and shooting begins at 9 a.m. at the rifle range off Kershaw Road near the Jackson County Sports Park. The range is the same location as the former Camp White rifle range.

Organizers plan to offer classes for target rifles, F-Class rifles, classic military rifles and sporting rifles with any sights. The cost is $5 per stage, with winners receiving cash prizes.

The event will have the same format as a regular practice session, with shooters free to try the various states that fit their ability and equipment. Benches will be available for those who choose not to shoot from the prone position.

For more information, visit the club's Web site at

The Nature Conservancy is asking for volunteers to help remove invasive, non-native weeds during a work party Saturday morning at the Whetstone Savannah Preserve near White City.

The work party, which will focus on removing curly dock, will run from 9 a.m. to noon at the preserve off Newland Road.

Volunteers should wear waterproof shoes and bring good digging tools, if possible.

To get there from Medford, take Table Rock Road north, then turn left onto West Gregory Road. Turn right onto Downing Road and follow it to Newland Road, where the savannah will be on your left.

For more information, call Alicia Fitzgerald at 541-770-7933, ext. 5, or e-mail her at

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or e-mail

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