Points of Interest:
- Explore 2 ½ miles of the Little Black River and its associated riparian corridor.
- Keep a lookout for swamp rabbits.
Natural Features Description: The Little Black River here is exceptionally rich in aquatic life with 60 native fish species and over a dozen native mussel species. The fish fauna includes Ozark species characteristic of good stream health such as Ozark minnow, telescope shiner, striped shiner, bleeding shiner and rainbow darter. Interestingly the slough darter and cypress darter, Mississippi Lowlands fish species, are found here as well. A number of mussel beds occur on the river and rely on good water quality. Unfortunately some of the mussel species populations in the Little Black River drainage have declined since the 1980s for reasons that are not entirely clear. Past water pollution problems may have had a role in this decline. Nonetheless the river is still important for mussels. Freshwater mussels have a fascinating life cycle, relying on specific host fish for their larvae to use during development into adults. In the bottomland forests paralleling the river beaver, swamp rabbits, and barred owls find the right habitat. Wood ducks can be found in sloughs and backwater habitats of the floodplain.
This natural area is within Mudpuppy Conservation Area. From Doniphan, travel east on Highway 160 for nearly eight miles. Turn left (north) on to Highway BB and proceed for 4 miles to Mudpuppy Conservation Area. Here the road turns to gravel. Stay on the gravel road still heading east for another quarter mile. Park in the lot to the north of the road. Here the Trout Lily Trail provides access to the natural area. Alternatively a canoe or kayak float trip through the natural area can be done. Put in at the Greenville Ford Access off Highway K upstream. After floating downstream about 2 miles you’ll enter the natural area. After about another 1.75 miles of floating there will be a parking area on Mudpuppy Conservation Area on the banks above that could be used as a take out. Hunting and fishing are permitted. A map and compass are recommended for exploring the area.