MDC will open Columbia Bottom CA to non-managed waterfowl hunting Nov. 8 due to water pumps failing

News from the region
Saint Louis
Published Date

SPANISH LAKE, Mo.—The water pumpstation on the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in Spanish Lake has experienced mechanical failure due to aging infrastructure.  As a result, MDC will not be able to flood and actively manage water levels on the area for the remainder of the 2022 Waterfowl Hunting Season.

MDC staff will make hunting opportunities available to waterfowl hunters who have already successfully drawn hunting spots on Columbia Bottom through Nov. 7 as water levels permit.  Due to pumping efforts prior to the failure and recent rains, pools may still hold sufficient water for waterfowl hunting during this time.  MDC will continue to operate the “poor line” to enable hunters not drawn to utilize any unclaimed sites as natural water levels allow.  Columbia Bottom’s ADA blind, however, will not be available for use due to its pool’s insufficient water level.

Starting Nov. 8, MDC will discontinue managed waterfowl hunt drawings on the area.  At that time Columbia Bottom will be available for open waterfowl hunting, allocated through self-registration.  Hunting opportunities on Columbia Bottom will depend exclusively on natural water levels due to rain events and fluctuating river levels. 

Hunters can call the Waterfowl Hotline at 314-877-6014 to check the area’s current water levels.

Hunters choosing to participate in open waterfowl hunting starting Nov. 8 on Columbia Bottom should keep the following in mind:

  • Waterfowl hunting opportunities will be strictly on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Habitat conditions will be variable, based on natural water levels determined entirely by rain events and river levels
  • All hunters must self-register upon arrival and possess a Daily Waterfowl Hunting Tag, which must be turned in at the end of the hunt
  • Waterfowl hunting will remain restricted to designated waterfowl hunting zones
  • Waterfowl hunting after 1 p.m. is prohibited
  • The waterfowl refuge will continue to be enforced

Hunters requiring the use of ADA blinds may have the opportunity to utilize the ADA blind at MDC’s Marais Temps Clair Conservation Area in St. Charles.  Hunters already drawn for the ADA blind at Columbia Bottom will be contacted directly to discuss possible alternate arrangements.

All other area users should continue to respect designated waterfowl hunting zone boundaries through the remainder of the 2022 waterfowl hunting season.

MDC has determined that the Columbia Bottom pump system failure is the result of age and excessive wear required to manage water levels on the area for nearly two decades, along with damage caused by multiple flood events in recent years.  The performance of the pumps has been consistent with their projected life expectancy.

MDC is currently examining options regarding future waterfowl hunting opportunities on Columbia Bottom Conservation Area. 

Columbia Bottom is located at 801 Strodtman Road in north St. Louis County and can be reached by taking the Riverview Drive Exit from I-270 and travelling north approximately three miles.