MDC Wetlands Are Mostly OK
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.