ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The tremendous amount of rain and flooding we have had this year will affect waterfowl hunters this fall at Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) wildlife areas managed with a wetlands emphasis.
However, the news is not all bad. The Nodaway Valley and Fountain Grove conservation areas will offer normal hunting conditions, if the weather cooperates. The news is not as good for the areas in the Missouri River bottomlands.
The Nodaway Valley Conservation Area, including the west side wetlands and the water control structures were not damaged and hunters will see normal conditions, according to Craig Crisler, MDC wildlife management biologist. The wetlands on the east side of the Nodaway River may be back to normal conditions, unless heavy rains create flooding through levee breaches on that side.
“We still have the ability to pump water,” Crisler said. “Our moist soil plants are doing good. Our hunting blinds are still available.”
Flood damage will hamper waterfowl hunting opportunities in the Missouri River Bottoms.
The Bob Brown Conservation Area near Forest City, is seeing damage from breached levees. Roads are in bad shape and repairs to the roads will be completed after the levees have been repaired. Currently, hunters are not able to drive beyond the campground area that is near the area’s entrance. MDC staff hopes to have better access by the opening of waterfowl season.
“Due to flood damage, we will not be able to pump water this fall,” Crisler said. “The amount of water in the pools will rise and fall with the Missouri River due to numerous levee breaches. There’s no cover to speak of, it’s either open water or mud flats in the pools.”
Most of the other conservation areas managed by MDC along the Missouri River in Atchison and Holt counties are essentially unavailable to hunters because of flood damage to public roads and bridges in the river bottoms that prevents access, Crisler said.
“For most of our areas along the river north of Forest City, access is difficult if not impossible,” he said. “Still, all our special area regulations apply.”