Heavy rains and flooding may have an impact on waterfowl season

Wetland habitat at MDC's Four Rivers Conservation Area has been damaged this year by flooding. But the area will be open and ready for waterfowl seasons this autumn

KANSAS CITY, Mo —  Unprecedented flooding and heavy rain this spring and summer in the region have altered the condition of wetland habitat at the Four Rivers Conservation Area, south of Kansas City.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is working to correct the situation by the time the waterfowl season begins.   Most of the conservation area’s wetland pools became flooded earlier in the spring and still have not drained. Some have flooded again due to recent heavy rains.

Poor to fair native moist-soil plant production will greet hunters in Unit 1 and Unit 2, due to the flooding.  Those plants usually provide food and cover that attract ducks and geese.  Due to the wet conditions no crops were planted in the bottoms  according to Chris Daniel, MDC wildlife management biologist and manager of Four Rivers.

“We aerial seeded millet on about 1,800 acres in Units 1 and  2 in late July,” Daniel said.  “So far the millet looks really good.  Unfortunately, more flooding is in the forecast following recent heavy rains so it is too early to predict conditions.  There should be normal hunting opportunity during duck season, but habitat may be marginal.”

In Units 3 and 4, the open units, flooding has also affected habitat conditions.  The Unit 3 levee was breached by flood waters in late May, Daniels said.   The area took on 15 feet of water and has not yet drained and the levee is still breached.  Unit 4 flooded in mid-March and levels remain high.

Hunters will not find much cover or habitat in Units 3 and 4, but on the positive side, those units will have more than 2,000 acres of water during the early teal season.

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