After looking at old photos of Duck Creek and the Bootheel and driving back and forth from work every day, I got to thinking about how things are constantly changing. It isn’t necessarily good or bad; it is just what happens. For example, as we get older joints don’t work as smoothly as they used to, hair starts growing in different places or it starts to retreat in others. Most of us acknowledge these changes but move on with daily life while adjusting somewhat to the larger inconveniences.
The land and critters around are in the same boat. They too are in a state of constant flux. The most striking example of this at Duck Creek of course is Pool 1. Both the development of levees and the retention of water over the last 60 years have effected a change in the vegetation community. In turn, the fish and wildlife communities using these resources have also changed over the years. Of course, for many of you who have a history with the area, this is stating the obvious and isn’t anything new. I’d like to take a little time over the next month to examine some of the less obvious transitions that have also taken place on Duck Creek and the surrounding landscape.
One hundred years ago, much of the Bootheel was forested and wet. So much so, it was called Swampeast Missouri. In the late 1800s and early 1900s a large effort to “reclaim” the land was undertaken. It was quite a massive land transformation. It changed what was on the land and how water flowed through the land, as well as the shape of the land. Although one could say most of these alterations had already occurred by the time Duck Creek had been developed, I would argue that the momentum of land conversion has continued over the last 60 years and will continue in the future. Once again, I’m not saying whether this is good or bad, but just laying out what has happened over the years. By understanding what and how change has occurred, we have a better understanding of the current conditions and what the future may hold.