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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

If you aren’t a duck hunter, you might assume that floods are good for folks who invest all their spare cash in decoys and retriever food. With water covering tens of thousands of acres along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, ducks will have plenty of places to land, right?

Waterfowl hunters know better. They understand that waterfowl need more than water. They need food, for instance. To store up enough energy for the next leg of their journey, migrating waterfowl look for corn, rice or seeds from native plants, like smartweed and sedges. If ducks find those food sources standing in a few inches of water, they stay in Missouri and eat their fill. When they find only vast expanses of empty water, they keep going south.

Knowing that, you might assume the outlook is bleak for duck hunters. That isn’t true, either. Yes, lots of normally productive cropland is flooded right now. I was shocked to see how much agricultural land was underwater when I flew between Eagle Bluffs and Bob Brown conservation areas recently. Even though levees are holding in most areas, I saw several river bottoms covered with water from seepage. But lots of land in the Missouri River valley remains farmable, and hunters will be relieved to know that most of the 15 wetland areas owned by the Conservation Department are getting through this flood year just fine.

Grand Pass CA is a good example. This 5,000-acre area sits right on the Missouri River in Saline County. The farmland just upriver is a lake, but levees that protect Grand Pass and surrounding farmland have held. Crops are growing well on much of the area, as you can see in the accompanying photo.

Seepage did cause some crop losses at Grand Pass. The west refuge--pools 1 and 2--had total crop failure. Pools 5 West and portions of Pool 5 also had some yield reductions, but crops in pools 3, 4 and TIII are in good shape. Late-planted food plots of corn are in good to fair condition. Natural vegetation in pools 5, 6, 8 and 9 are in good to excellent condition. Most of Pool 7 is shifting to perennial vegetation, such as cattails and bulrush, so seed production from millet, smartweed, etc., is significantly reduced there.

The levees also have held at 4,400-acre Eagle Bluffs CA in southern Boone County. Seep water has reduced production somewhat in pools 3, 8, 11 and

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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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