THE FACTS on MO. Waterfowl Area Status as of mid-July
By GORDY GORDON, Publisher — When lives, lands and fortunes have been lost in the record flooding this spring and summer, it can seem petty to even mention how it affects hunting plans at some of Missouri’s public waterfowl areas. And Duck Huntin’ Magazine extends sympathies and support to all who’ve been impacted by the disaster — which in length and acres of land affected — is worse than the Flood of 1993.
But duck hunting is our business, and in that light we must report accordingly. At least one area heavily used by ducks and hunters alike, Bob Brown near Forest City, MO., was still underwater as of July 12, and the jury is still out on its opening this fall, according to Mike Schroer, Wildlife Management Chief, Missouri River Unit of MDC.
Rumors and misinformation are swirling about the fate of Brown and other state waterfowl areas, so Duck Huntin’ Magazine went straight to the source for the very latest facts. Here is Schroer’s full report:
Bob Brown – Still under water due to levee breaches. Area not accessible due to flooded public roads and road damage. MO River expected to stay high all summer. Uncertain if any repairs will be made in time for duck season.
Nodaway Valley West – Undamaged, business as usual.
Nodaway Valley East – Multiple levee breaches, most likely not repaired by duck season. Infrastructure still in place and should be in working order. Plans are for a normal season unless river floods again. Some crops exist and some good moist soil.
Fountain Grove – Fountain Grove is dry and moist soil production is decent. No production corn or soybeans were planted in wetland units this year but food plots were planted in the East and West-Side Wetland Complex’s. Construction for the new pump station should begin anytime and last 18 months. The only hunting pools we plan on pumping will be the East-Side Complex which consist of approximately 9 wetland units. We do not plan on pumping water to the West-Side and lower pools due to construction; however those pools may be open to hunting if we trap flood water in them this fall.
Grand Pass – Unless we have a breach sometime between now and this fall, I would anticipate fair to good moist soil production with no prospects of any Ag crop. Cover would be limited on east side pools which may offer challenges to opportunity in the later part of season. If the water levels remain the same as they are currently there would not be access to the ADA blind and certain roads on the area would be closed as well.
Four Rivers – Moderate road/levee damage in draw units 1 & 2 but shouldn’t be an issue during season. There is a major levee break in Unit 3. Expect normal opportunity. No moist-soil. Hopeful for August aerial seeding.
Montrose – uncertain of status due to lease expiring with KCPL, not likely to have any reservations, still hopeful to have hunting but will not know for months.
Schell Osage – no reservations due to upcoming renovation, opportunistic hunting through self-registration, staff will not have capabilities to flood any portion of the area but will be dependent on rainfall.
Eagle Bluffs – one levee breach that should be fixed, moist soil should be good. Hopefully, near normal operations. No hunter cover planted in pools. Near normal operations.
Ted Shanks – multiple levee breaches, hope to have repairs completed but it will depend on the rest of the summer and when things start drying out. Likely to have reduced opportunity.
BK Leach – still under water, uncertain of levee conditions, likely to have reduced opportunity. There was a significant river levee break at River Slough Tract. The draw room was destroyed. Reservations reduced or non-existent.
MTC – The perimeter levees are dry and seem to have sustained minimal damage, but the cross levees are still underwater with undetermined damage.
Columbia Bottom – multiple levee breaches, no reservations, may have opportunistic hunting depending on the rest of summer.
Duck Creek – Moist soil looks good on Greenbrier and Duck Creek units, Dark Cypress still holding a lot of water but should be dry in the next week or so. Hunting should be normal for this season.
Otter Slough – should have good moist soil, too wet to plant crops – mostly normal operations.
Ten Mile Pond – The water is starting to finally come off of Ten Mile Pond but we still have a ways to go before its ideal. One of our permittee farmers was able to get some corn in the refuge units and one hunting unit, and we may try for some milo in a few food plots. There are some units that the moist soil is doing very well in and I am hopeful that as more water comes off that we can still pull off some really good moist soil across the area. Traditionally, Ten Mile Pond has produced a successful moist soil crop even in years that we had flood water into the summer. Other than that I plan on Ten Mile Pond operating like it normally would.
Coon Island – Like most years down there it is very wet. We may be able to try and do some late hunter cover food plots but very unlikely. Moist soil will be decent if we can get the water off of a few units but most of it will be a semi-perm at the rate we are going. A decision on flooding of the timber units will be made later.
Settle’s Ford – no report – staff on vacation.
Perry – should have good moist soil. likely better than normal, lots of woody encroachment knocked back, hunting will be dependent on amount of water for fall.
Truman Lake – still 27’ high as of July 12, not likely to have much moist soil vegetation around edges, too many unknowns at this point.
MO River Mitigation properties – Still under water due to levee breaches. Most areas not accessible due to flooded public roads and road damage. MO River expected to stay high all summer. Could provide opportunity if river drops enough for public road access/repairs but remains high enough for some area flooding.
Thurnau – Still under water due to levee breaches. Area is not accessible due to flooded public roads and road damage. MO River expected to stay high all summer. Could provide opportunity if river drops enough for public road access. Repair to pumps and interior levees is unlikely before season.