From Susan at Stillwater (I emailed and asked how it's looking):
Hey Andy - weeeeellllllll, its not looking too good out there for the waterfowl season. even a late deluge of rain won't make a difference now; we'll have water in West Marsh and Tule for sure, the other larger units we are taking advantage of the low water year to dry out so we can get in and do some serious work (Goose, Nutgrass, Swan, Lead Lk). the ground water keeps subbing up so its very hard to get equipment in unless we can keep surface water off for 6mos min. This way we can get a good burn on them next Spring, fix gates, clean checks, clear launches, etc. to compare, Carson Lake (Greenhead Club) is only filling one unit this year, Sprig. but not restricting hunter #'s so it could be crazy out there on opener!
Bill Henry, our biologist for 20+ yrs is retiring end of Aug. and there are no plans or budget to fill his job until next fiscal yr (Oct 2014 as of now). we hope to get a temp biologist in the meanwhile, not sure when that will get approved and done. We also lost 2 mntc guys to retirements, those jobs also not being filled, so the other two will be handling the water until the delivery season ends first of Oct, about 6wks earlier than normal for us. it was only a 75% water year anyway for the TCID, and if Lahontan goes any lower, they could end deliveries in Sept.
bird numbers in the nesting grounds (CAnada, Arctic and points north of us) are very good, but if we don't have the water, food, cover they won't want to hang out here very long. we'll just have to wait and see at this point, and hope for a LOT of wet in the Sierra this winter.
wish I had better news, but maybe this is a chance for the refuge to rest and get a makeover for next season!