MDC plans water drawdowns at Four Rivers and Schell Osage

News from the region
Kansas City
Published Date

NEVADA, Mo. -- Aerial topography surveys using a laser light technology called “LiDAR” will be completed this winter for the upper-Osage River floodplain, including the wetlands located on the Missouri Department of Conservation's (MDC) Four Rivers and Schell Osage conservation areas. The survey will provide precise topographical maps that will help MDC staff plan for repairs and renovations on both wetland complexes.

This information will be particularly valuable during the planning process for the upcoming Schell-Osage Golden Anniversary Wetland Renovation, which will include improvements to levees and water-control structures. The survey will also aid in making decisions about controlling water levels to maximize benefits to wetland-dependent species.

The surveys will require a mid-winter drawdown of water in the wetlands. Drawdowns will be staged so that some wetland habitat will remain through the goose hunting season, which closes Jan. 31. But there will be a reduction in hunting opportunities in some areas. The pools must be dry for the surveys, and due to survey limitations it is necessary to target mid-winter conditions.

For waterfowl hunters and wildlife watchers, the drawdowns and survey will help ensure productive wetlands in coming decades, said Chris Daniel, an MDC wildlife management biologist.

“This is going to help us make more informed decisions when it comes to engineering and planning,” Daniel said.

Permanent lakes at both Four Rivers and Schell Osage conservation areas will not be affected.

For more information, contact the Four Rivers office at 417-395-2341, or the Schell Osage office at 417-432-3414. Updates will also be provided on the information hotlines for both areas throughout January.