Reflections

Missed By A Million

You may think that I'm all wet, but the volume of water referred to in your article on Lost Valley Hatchery calls for re-examination.

It says the three wells can bring to the surface "3,500 million gallons per minute." That's three and a half billion any way you look at it. My grandson helped me with the math, so it's right.

The water that flows from Hoover dam is just a trickle by comparison.

George Davidson, Kansas City

Editor's note: Good catch of our egregious error. The new hatchery is no challenge to Hoover Dam. The wells at the Lost Valley Hatchery have the ability to extract a combined 3,500 gallons per minute.

Flattening Praise

Thank you for your director's editorial, "Joining the Flat Earth Society." As administrator of a village government in southwest St. Louis County, I have recently observed firsthand the "leveling out" of terrain in the construction of Highway 141 through our area.

First, the fish in our lake impoundment were killed by discharges of highly chlorinated water released through our storm water system by the water company as new lines were enlarged and relocated. Then, line flushings moved large amounts of uncontrolled water over our parkland, carrying debris into the lake. Finally, failure of the highway contractor to control silt and loose earth movement during the spring rains created a sludge base in the impoundment. How much of that escaped downstream to form new problems and how much remains to be dredged from the lake and redeposited in some growing and useless landfill remains to be seen.

Few construction efforts pose a greater danger to local environments than major highway construction. Keep up the drumbeat of concern.

Carol J. Weber, Twin Oaks

Archers Aware

Our store sells archery equipment and from time to time archers come in and tell me they shot a coyote, bobcat or fox. When I talk to them, they don't even think about the fact that the season is not open until Nov. 20. They also seem to forget that they need a hunting license for these animals, not a bow tag.

Marvin Batson, Springfield.

Spider Round-up

I enjoyed the article on crab spiders. It reminded me of an interesting experience I had with one of these creatures.

I was working on a slight slope and when I accidentally dislodged her from a coreopsis flower, a crab spider folded her legs around her body, making a wheel-like shape. She then rolled down the slope and away from the perceived danger, which was me. How endlessly fascinating are nature's ways!

Adrianne Rueff, Henderson, Nevada

Clam Dip

I live at Lake St. Louis and cleaned-out clam shells appear on my tie wall. The water by the ties is over 6 feet deep. If we had otters in the lake, I would suspect them. Raccoons like clams, but would they dive down in 6 feet of water? What do you think is having clam dinners on my lawn?

Conrad Faber, Lake St. Louis

Editor's note: Our best guess would be a muskrat or raccoon. Muskrats usually prefer to feed in areas sheltered from above. It's unlikely a raccoon would dive that deep, but one may be retrieving clams from shallower water and dining on your seawall.

Prebait

I enjoyed your article on fishing for carp. It sounds like a lot of fun, and I can't wait to try it. I was surprised to read that you can bait a site beforehand. I had always thought it was illegal to bait fish.

Tina Martin, Holden

Editor's note: Chumming is considered an acceptable fishing method everywhere in Missouri, except in the trout parks, where it is illegal. In my experience, only catfish, carp and trout fishing can be improved by chumming. Baiting animals for hunting is not allowed.

Sturdy Lespedeza

A few years ago I found a plant in my flower garden. I didn't know what it was, so I let it grow into a large bush. Thanks to your recent article, I found that the plant is sericea lespedeza. Even after a few years of digging up the plant, I still find it growing in the flower garden and in my yard.

Floyd Shockley, St. Louis

Roof Moss

I enjoyed your article, "Missouri Mosses." In his excellent book, "Moss Gardening," George Schenk examines the claim that moss forces up wood shingles.

Moss will take refuge under a shingle that has already warped, but on a roof in good repair, it simply grows on top and does not eat into the roof. He includes a picture of a house with asphalt shingles completely covered with moss that is more than 40 years old and doesn't have even a tiny leak. In many countries, a mossy roof is considered a thing of beauty and is highly desirable.

Jenny Franklin, Long Lane

Complaint Line

The other day, my dad and I were fishing Shoal Creek in Joplin. We saw jug lines, trot lines and limb lines everywhere. I know they are legal, but we have seen the lines caught in propellers on boats, and I have gotten my lures caught up in them. Maybe the people who set them need to know about the disadvantages they cause to other types of fishing.

Andrew Holland, Joplin

The letters printed here reflect readers' opinions about the Conservationist and its contents. Space limitations prevent us from printing all letters, but we welcome signed comments from our readers. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: What's going on with the dove season? Last year we could take 15 doves a day. This year we're limited to 12.

A: Migratory bird seasons and bag limits are set within a federal framework established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. States can impose shorter seasons and larger bag limits, or longer seasons and more conservative bag limits. For the past several years Missouri has had a split dove season with a 15-bird bag limit. The split, 60-day season (open in September, closed in October, open in November) wasn't popular with most hunters. Hunter surveys indicated only a few hunters took the 15-bird limit in early September, so the Conservation Department opted for a compromise, returning to a season of 70 consecutive days (Sept. 1 through Nov. 9). This gives early dove hunters a liberal 12-bird bag limit, while early-season quail and pheasant hunters have a chance at late-season doves.

For more information on hunting seasons see the "Hunting" page on the Conservation Department's web site.

Ombudsman Ken Drenon will respond to your questions, suggestions or complaints concerning Conservation Department programs. Write him at P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, call him at (573) 751-4115, ext. 3848, or e-mail him at <Ken.Drenon@mdc.mo.gov>.