Land Use

Recent Land Use

Most of the region was originally covered by prairie grasses broken by bands of timber that ran along the major streams. Today, almost all the areas covered by prairie grasses have been cultivated with much of the timber removed near streams. An estimate of current land use was determined from the 1987 National Resources Inventory conducted by the U.S. Soil Conservation Service and from data gathered in the 1989 Missouri Forest Inventory (Hansen 1991; Ostrom 1991) conducted by the U.S. Forest Service with the cooperation of the Missouri Department of Conservation. Specific information about land in the Cuivre River watershed was retrieved from the Forest Inventory database using a customized polygon that outlined the boundaries of the watershed (Clark 1991). Changes in land use were determined by comparing results of 1972 and 1989 forest inventories. These surveys indicated that 99 percent of the watershed is privately owned and that 1 percent is publicly owned. Approximately 23 percent (287,700 acres) of the watershed is forested; 77 percent (946,600 acres) is cultivated, pastured or otherwise developed (non-forest land). Of commercial quality forested land (timberland: 279,400 acres), 8.7 percent (24,200 acres) occurs on hydromesic ("moderately wet soils where insufficient drainage or infrequent flooding limits growth and species occurrences to some extent") or hydric ("very wet sites where excess water seriously limits both growth and species occurrence") soils. In addition, 4,700 acres of timberland were converted to non-forest use between 1972 and 1989 (Clark 1991). Urban growth is highest in Lincoln, Warren and St. Charles counties. These counties contain the largest towns in the basin: Wentzville (population 5,030 in 1987, Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Community 1990), Warrenton (population 4,420, Troy (population 3,100, U.S. Bureau of the Census 1988) and Wright City (population 1,250, Wright City Clerk, personal communication).

Soil Conservation Projects

There are no PL-566 soil conservation projects in the watershed and none have been proposed as of this date. However, there are five active and one completed small watershed projects under the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Montgomery and Warren counties. The projects are located on the watersheds of Elkhorn Creek, Prices Branch, Wolf Creek, Little Coon Creek, Bear Creek and Yeatter Branch. As of December 1991, acreage with implemented conservation practices to acreage needing treatment was as follows: Elkhorn Creek 1,479 of 2,957 acres (project completed), Prices Branch 1,351 of 3,245, Wolf Creek 497 of 8,200 acres, Little Coon Creek 220 of 2,990 acres, Bear Creek 0 of 2,950 acres (project just starting) and Yeatter Branch 1,014 of 3,097 acres (S. Boone, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, personal communication).

Public Areas

Only 1 percent of the Cuivre River Basin is publicly owned. The largest public area is Cuivre River State Park, managed by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (Figure Lu01). It is located within Lincoln County and encompasses about 6,250 acres. A wide range of recreational activities is permitted in the park, including horseback riding, camping, picnicking, hiking, swimming, stream fishing and lake fishing. Lincoln Lake (55 acres), located in park, is managed by the MDC. The MDC manages three public fishing accesses in the basin (Figure Lu02). Two--Riggs Ferry and Old Monroe-- are along the Cuivre River. Each has approximately 160 feet of stream frontage and is located in a highway right-of-way. The third access, R. H. Crouch, is along the West Fork Cuivre River. It has 0.4 miles of stream frontage. No MDC access has a boat ramp, although the streams in these reaches are floatable by canoe or small johnboat during normal flows. Anglers can also access the Cuivre River State Park. The trail to the water is steep and not well-suited for launching a boat. The only access with a concrete ramp is privately owned and located in Old Monroe near the mouth of Cuivre River. It is open to the public for a fee. Two additional MDC-managed access points were recommended along the Cuivre River (Gann 1989 memorandum). One site is proposed near Moscow Mills (T48N, R1E, Survey 1791) and the other is located off a county gravel road from Highway MM (T48N, R2E, Section 30). The Moscow Mills access would be about 10 miles downstream from the Riggs Ferry access, and the Highway MM site would be 17 miles downstream of Riggs Ferry and 9 miles upstream from the Old Monroe access. In addition to access points there are four natural areas (Thom and Iffrig 1985) and several wildlife areas within the basin (Figure Lu02). The MDC manages William G. White and Erma Parke White Memorial Wildlife Area (810 acres), William R. Logan Conservation Area (1,798 acres), Vonaventure Memorial Forest and Wildlife Area (203 acres), David Kessler Memorial State Wildlife Area (157 acres) and Vandalia Community Lake (146 acres). Three of the nature areas--Pickerelweed Pond, Big Sugar Creek and George A. Hamilton Forest-- are located in Cuivre River State Park, Lincoln County. The other natural area, Sandy Creek Natural Tunnel, is privately owned by Edith and Merton Carlson. It is about 6 miles northwest of Whiteside, Lincoln County.

Corps of Engineers 404 Jurisdiction

Waters of the Cuivre River Basin are under the jurisdiction of the Lower Mississippi Valley Division, St. Louis District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Applications for 404 permits should be directed to the St. Louis office: 1222 Spruce St., St. Louis, MO 63103-2833; (314) 331-8575.

Figure Lu01: Land Use and Cover for the Cuivre River Watershed

Land Use and Cover for the Cuivre River Watershed

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Figure Lu02: Public Areas in the Cuivre River Watershed

Public Areas in the Cuivre River Watershed

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