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April 9 - Big Muddy Speaker Series - Rocheport 2013

"Flush Twice - It's a Long Way to Eagle Bluffs"

presentation by Tim James, Wildlife Management Biologist, Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, MDC

Tuesday, April 9 , 2013baldeagle

7 p.m. presentation
lower floor of the Les Bourgeois Vineyards Bistro 
in Rocheport, MO (directions below)

Presentation is FREE and open to the public! Come early to purchase a great dinner upstairs at the Bistro!

Just south of Columbia, MO, in the McBaine Bottoms is a true Missouri River treasure. Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area is one of several intensively managed wetland restoration projects lying in the river floodplain. This 4,431 acre wildlife haven has over 10 miles of river and creek frontage between the Missouri River and Perche Creek. It provides an important stop-over and feeding station for migratory waterfowl and crucial cottonwood forest habitat for migrating songbirds. Its wetland pools also serve as a final treatment for the City of Columbia's wastewater.

photo courtesy of MDC

From fall through spring, immense flocks of a stunning diversity of waterfowl can be seen here. From bald eagle nests to roosting blue herons, from rafts of American white pelicans to thousands of snow geese and swirling vortexes of red-winged blackbirds, the bird watching is peerless in the area. Late spring brings crowds of warblers and shorebirds. Horned larks flit in front of your car as you drive through.

eaglebluffs

This diversity is no accident. In order to mitigate for the thousands of acres of wetlands lost during the channelization of the Missouri River and conversion of wetlands to agriculture, the Mo. Dept. of Conservation created Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area to provide this critical wetland habitat in the river bottoms. Pumps throughout the area draw water from the alluvium to fill wetland pools just when the migrating waterfowl need them.

An additional supply of water comes from the City of Columbia wastewater treatment facility. After primary treatment, the wastewater flows to cattail ponds in the bottoms. Eagle Bluffs can then use that water to supplement their wetland pools providing additional bioremediation as well as a crucial watersource. Water level management is timed to provide suitable habitat for migrating birds that meets their life-history needs.

Tim James, wildlife management biologist for the area, will share his story of Eagle Bluffs. How it works, what animals use it and how concerns about water quality in the bottoms may effect wetland management. See links on the right for more info on recent concerns about contamination of Columbia drinking water due to infiltration from wetland wastewater treatment.

photo courtesy of Vic Bogosian, MDC

Directions

  • Take I-70 to the Rocheport, MO, exit (Exit #115). It's the first exit east of the Missouri River.

  • Head north toward Rocheport.

  • After about a mile, turn left at the sign for Les Bourgeois Bistro. Follow the signs to the Bistro. You will probably need to park in the lot above the Bistro and walk the trail down.

  • The presentations are held in the lower level. You can either enter at the restaurant entrance then go down the stairs to your left past the bar, or you can follow the walk to the right of the restaurant and enter through a glass door into the lower level.

  • 14020 W. Hwy BB, Rocheport, MO (click for Google Map)

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