(Photo provided by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
The OMA was presented to Refuge Manager Jeremy Bennett and Wildlife Technician Aaron Mize by Col. Charles O. Smithers, commander of the Corps' Memphis District, because the refuge exceeded the Corps' maintenance program requirements for levees, channels, and other flood control structures.
The Big Lake Area Project consists of five structures and a series of connecting channels and levees. These structures and others are part of an extensive network within the Lower Mississippi Valley to provide drainage and reduce flooding. The structures also allow refuge staff to manage water levels and water quality for the benefit of wildlife, fish, and plants within Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge and to provide sufficient water levels to flood the Hornersville Swamp Wildlife Management Area and Big Lake Wildlife Management Area during waterfowl hunting seasons.