Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Columbia FWCO Completes Sixth Annual Scours Report for Big Muddy Refuge
Midwest Region, August 22, 2007
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The 2006 sampling report for the scours at the Overton Bottoms Unit of Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge (NFWR) was recently completed in August 2007.  In the report, Fish Biologist Cliff Wilson of the Columbia FWCO used the 2006 data to evaluate population dynamics of fish communities present in the scours and provide management recommendations.

During the flood of 1993, the Missouri River formed the three permanent scours at the Overton Bottoms Unit of Big Muddy NFWR.  These scours, ranging in size from 2 to 38 acres, serve as home to both lacustrine and riverine species.  With reconnection occurring at least once every six years the scours contain very diverse fisheries.  Anglers can be found at the refuge daily, drawn by the diversity of angling opportunities.  

Due to angler interest, Columbia FWCO, Big Muddy NFWR, and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) have worked together to monitor and improve the fisheries at the refuge.  Surveys of the scours since 1997 include fish species inventories, exotic fish impact assessments, and floodplain use and connectivity assessments.  Other efforts include the construction of tree reefs and supplemental stocking of several native fish species.

The 2006 sampling occurred in October and consisted of mini-fyke netting as well as day and night electrofishing. Biologists captured 9,626 fish, which included 30 species from 10 families. 

Future plans for the scours include holding kids fishing clinics, creating additional fishing access, creating more habitat for spawning and recruitment, and supplemental stocking.  Columbia FWCO will continue the annual sampling of the scours to monitor the condition of the fisheries.  They will also continue to develop ideas and assist in efforts that improve the fisheries at the refuge. 

Columbia FWCOs collective efforts with the Big Muddy NFWR and MDC to identify and implement ways to increase recreational fishing supports the Partnerships and Accountability and Public Use goals of the Fisheries Programs Vision for the Future.

Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov
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