Conservation Connection: Columbia Bottom rebuilds after spring floods
(KPLR) – As dry as this year’s fall has been, it’s hard to believe that we had some incredible rains this spring. These rains caused significant flooding and Columbia Bottom Conservation Area at the Confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi was among the casualties.
Nicki Wheaton, Naturalist at Columbia Bottom spoke with John Fuller and took a look back on the events of the spring and has an update on the current status of the area.
Q. First of all, give us a recap on what happened with the flood.
- On June 2, the Missouri River levee was breached and the area was left completely underwater except for the visitor center
- All travel on the area had to be by boat until the water receded
- It was the highest water on the area since the flood of 1995
Q. What kind of damage was done?
- There was a 50-foot breach in the levee
- It tore up a large portion of the asphalt roadway leading up the boat ramp
- The boat ramp and fishing jetty were badly damaged
- Gashes in the roadway were up to 6 feet deep
- Overturned a permanent stone privy
- The water left 2-4 inches of silt on roads and parking areas
- The whole area except the visitor center was closed temporarily
Q. So what repairs have been done so far?
- Repairs are still in progress
- An excavator was used to clear silt and debris
- The damaged asphalt boat ramp was replaced with concrete
- Gravel has been used to fill in the breaks in the asphalt road as a temporary solution to make the area accessible
- The road will eventually be rebuilt and possibly re-routed farther from the levee
Q. What’s the status of Columbia Bottom now?
- The area has reopened and is fully accessible again
- It hosted hunters for dove season starting September 1 and will be open for the 2013-2014 waterfowl season
- All public programs are still happening
Q. What are some of the things coming up at Columbia Bottom in the near future?
- Pre-K program about trees this Saturday
- Full Moon Walk on Oct. 18
- Geocaching on Nov. 1
Columbia Bottom is located in Spanish Lake, 3 miles north of I-270, off the Riverview Drive exit.
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