MDC says Unit 31 at Otter Slough to remain temporarily closed throughout current waterfowl season

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is reminding hunters that Unit 31 at Otter Slough in Stoddard County is being held out of the waterfowl hunting program this fall due to the discovery of an invasive, nonnative aquatic plant known as Alligatorweed.

Otter Slough is one of 15 managed waterfowl hunting areas located within the Middle Duck Hunting Zone west of Dexter, as listed in MDC’s 2021-2022 Migratory Bird and Waterfowl Hunting Digest.

Invasive plants are aggressive, nonnative species whose presence causes or is likely to cause economic harm, environmental harm, or harm to human health.

Mike Reed, MDC Fisheries Management Biologist said the plant – native to South America – grows quickly, forming dense mats that crowd out native species. These invasive plants grow in or along streams, ponds, lakes, ditches, and wetlands.

A treatment plan has been implemented by MDC to combat this issue, Reed said, including eradicating the plant from Unit 31 at Otter Slough and preventing it from colonizing additional units at the conservation area.

“The brief closure will allow the unit to be held dry in attempt to kill the remaining alligator weed,” he said. “We believe the plant was introduced inadvertently by boat, motor, or trailers of waterfowl hunters who had been in southern states such as Arkansas or Louisiana, which have a lot of this plant.”

The unit’s temporary closure was finalized after publication of MDC’s 2021-2022 Migratory Bird and Waterfowl Hunting Digest. For questions, please contact your local conservation office.

For more information on migratory-bird and waterfowl hunting, visit MDC online here and select the specific species, or get MDC’s 2021-2022 Migratory Bird and Waterfowl Hunting Digest, available where hunting permits are sold.