Saginaw Bay managed waterfowl hunt areas affected by heavy rains

Significant flooding of waterfowl hunting fields at Fish Point, Nayanquing Point, Shiawassee River.
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Statewide DNR News

June 30, 2017

Contact: Jeremiah Heise, 989-865-6211, or Holly Vaughn, 313-396-6863

Saginaw Bay managed waterfowl hunt areas affected by heavy rains

Michigan’s Saginaw Bay region was hit with heavy rainfall last week. As a result, Fish Point State Wildlife Area, Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area and Shiawassee River State Game Area experienced significant flooding of waterfowl hunting fields, which damaged newly planted crops. 

Crops like corn, millet and sorghum are planted on managed waterfowl hunt areas to provide cover and food sources for migrating waterfowl and to offer waterfowl hunters a place to hide from ducks and geese while targeting these species. 

While flooding of these areas is the goal in the fall, they need to remain water-free in the spring and summer to ensure successful corn and small grain crop maturity. The staff at all three areas, when and where possible, has been running pumps around the clock to remove water from fields. Staff members also have been working to repair infrastructure to limit the extent of damage.

Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area, in Pinconning, received 5 inches of local rainfall, partially flooding the area’s north and south fields. The staff likely will need to replant an estimated six to 10 hunting zones to replace corn and small grains.

Fish Point State Wildlife Area, located in Unionville, received approximately 6 inches of rain. The entire area experienced significant flooding. As many as 16 zones may need to be replanted across the area. As flooding recedes and soils dry, the staff will continue to assess the damage and determine which zones will need to be replanted.

Shiawassee River State Game Area, located in St. Charles, is a massive floodplain located at the confluence of the Flint, Shiawassee, Bad, Cass and Tittbawassee rivers and Swan Creek. With the watershed receiving, in some places, more than 10 inches of rain, several rivers were in prolonged severe flood stage for multiple days. These rivers flow south to the Shiawassee Flats, where they affect the game area. Additional rains June 28 and 29 have kept water levels high. 

This has had a large impact on Shiawassee River State Game Area, with sustained infrastructure damage resulting in several hundred acres of sharecropped fields being either partial or complete losses. The staff has been running pumps where possible. Once flood waters recede, staff members will repair infrastructure and place auxiliary pumps to supplement existing pumps and expedite water removal. The pumping will salvage fields for small grain planting for this fall’s waterfowl hunting seasons.

Two fields are complete losses for corn cover strips – the fields contain hunting zones 6-8 and zones 9-14. Staff members are working closely with the Shiawassee Flats Citizens and Hunters Association to develop plans for these two fields. Sorghum and small grains likely will be planted, because once the fields are dry, it will be too late for corn planting. 

Michigan’s managed waterfowl areas, scattered across the southern Lower Peninsula, were created in the 1960s to provide exceptional waterfowl hunting opportunities, and still are managed today to provide waterfowl habitat for nesting and migration and for the benefit of other wetland-dependent wildlife. Since the beginning, these areas have been funded by hunting license fees, but they are open for anyone to visit, use and enjoy most of the year. To learn more about the managed waterfowl hunt areas, visit

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to

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