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MDC Wetlands Are Mostly OK

Wetlands from the Air

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Seep Water Takes a Toll

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Eagle Bluffs dodges flood damage

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No Joy in Mudville

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Published on: Aug. 17, 2011

12, but the crops look good otherwise. Parts of Eagle Bluffs that are managed for seed-producing natural vegetation are doing well, too.

Bob Brown CA wasn’t so lucky. The levee protecting this popular 3,300-acre wetland area in Holt County broke in mid-June. Water still covers the area and the surrounding landscape, making hunting prospects there very dim this year.

Most of MDC’s managed wetland areas are outside the Missouri and Mississippi river flood plains and have not been affected by high flows on the two big rivers. Detailed reports on conditions at state wetlands will be posted on MDC’s website later this month. Until then, hunters should know that the news is mostly good. Very few areas suffered serious flood damage.

 

An Amazing Year

If you already know more than you care to about this year’s flood, you can stop reading now. I’m kind of a river geek, so it fascinates me. Floods usually occur when a big storm or a series of storms dumps a slug of water in a particular area. Rivers rise, and then fall. The flood crest lasts only a few days or a couple of weeks at most.

This year’s flood is different. It began with record snowfall in the Rocky Mountains last winter. Then, freak storms dumped a ridiculous amount of rain on the Dakotas in May, filling the reservoirs on the upper Missouri River. Experts with the Corps of Engineers looked at those brim-full reservoirs and knew they had to get rid of a prodigious amount of water to make room for snowmelt. In May, the Corps began releasing water from Gavins Point, the dam farthest downstream on the Missouri River, at the rate of 160,000 cubic feet per second (cfs).

That is an unimaginably large amount of water, more than a million gallons per second. At the time, Corps officials said they expected to continue this massive flow throughout the summer, and it has. On Aug. 16, the average flow from Gavins Point was still 150,000 cfs.

Of course, the flow from Gavins Point isn’t all the water we get in Missouri’s stretch of the river. We also receive flows from the Platte, Kansas, Grand, Chariton, Saline, Osage and Gasconade rivers, plus dozens of other tributaries. As a result, the river has been above flood stage most of the time since late May.

Except for a couple of very brief periods, the Missouri River’s flow at Hermann has been 200,000 cfs or more since May 21. Judging by the U.S. Geological Survey’s data, which you can reach from the link below, I would guess that it has averaged about 225,000 cfs.

(WARNING: I am about to do math, which has never been my best subject. Please feel free to check me.)

If you multiply 225,000 cfs times 60 seconds, times 60 minutes, times 24 hours, times 90 days, you get approximately 1.75 trillion cubic feet of water. That is roughly 40 million “acre-feet.” An acre-foot is the amount of water it takes to cover an acre of land to a depth of 12 inches.

If you are having trouble picturing how much water that is, consider this: Missouri’s land area is a bit over 44 million acres. So, since May, enough water has slid down the Missouri past Hermann to cover all the land in Missouri with about 11 inches of water.

To paraphrase Larry the Cable Guy, that’s amazing. I don’t care who you are, that there is amazing.

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Comments

On August 29th, 2011 at 6:46pm Anonymous said:

I don't really mind it going on this year again, but feel that it would be better suited if all of the areas were in on it. Then we could really see what's going on....I know that's not a very popular opinion, but it is what it is.

On August 29th, 2011 at 4:57pm lowj said:

You make an excellent point, Anonymous. Analyzing the results of Quick Draw is terriifically complicated. You mentioned several complicating factors, but left out the perennial complication...weather. In order to see how QD performs, we need more than one year's experience to draw on. That's why we are continuing the trial this year. - Jim@mdc

On August 29th, 2011 at 11:43am lowj said:

Give Nodaway Valley CA Manager Craig Crisler a call at 660-446-3371. He should be able to fill you in.

On August 27th, 2011 at 4:19pm Anonymous said:

Jim that is also a little biased. You have to also take into consideration the folks who decided not to deal with the larger lines at the QD areas and either gave up completely or chose to go to one of the other CAs and then didnt draw out. So far all the info that ive seen has only evaluated quick draw areas by themselves...with no consideration for what has changed at the other areas. Until a comprehensive study is completed we are only seeing part of the puzzle. Also there are a number of external factors that may flaw any study...i.e. the downsizing of the economy and the general shift away from hunting. Even if there are more people that are going duck hunting on those areas. There is really no way of being able to with certainty prove that it is in any way related to QD. It seemed to me that even before quick draw the number of folks going was growing at an astounding rate anyway. In my opinion....its a wash.

On August 27th, 2011 at 12:34am Anonymous said:

Id like to know what happened to nodaway. Where can i find information on crop production and habitat status on this area?

On August 24th, 2011 at 8:04am lowj said:

That's a matter of opinion, Anonymous.  I had a great year at QD areas last year, as did other folks who used the Poor Line. Poor Line opptunities were about the same under QD last year as before. Although more reservations were given, many were no-shows, putting those spots back in the Poor Line. Besides that, four out of five MDC wetland areas remain under the old reservation system. Yes, the three QD areas are among the most popular in the state, but that means nothing to the thousands of hunters who had quality waterfowl hunting experiences on the 12 areas without QD. Considering all those factors, it seems to me that saying QD "ruined public hunting" is a gross exaggeration. Jim@mdc

On August 23rd, 2011 at 8:46pm Anonymous said:

Who cares quick draw has ruined public hunting in MO!
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