Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Friends of Big Muddy Help get Projects Rolling on the Refuge
Midwest Region, November 22, 2009
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Twenty one members of the Friends of Big Muddy got their hands dirty helping the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge on Sunday November 22, 2009.  The Friends dug holes, mixed concrete and set brackets for three new information kiosks at the Overton Bottoms South Unit of the Refuge.


The Overton Bottoms South Unit is one of the Refuges newest units.  The public land now part of the refuge was previously managed by the Corps of Engineers and the Missouri Department of Conservation.   This new unit adds 3,749 acres to the 15 year old Refuge.  Established in 1994 to help reestablish floodplain wildlife habitat along 368 miles of the Missouri River between Kansas City and St. Louis.  This new addition helped the refuge reach the quarter mark of its intended size of the proposed 60,000 acre refuge.   


Parking areas for the public already existed in this new addition but no public information was available.  The new information kiosks with attached signs will help orient and direct the public to the refuge.  Signs for the kiosk have already been produced with help from the Region 3 Regional Sign Coordinator Matt Merchelwitz. 


After completion of the project, Friends of Big Muddy members took a tour of the new bridge constructed by a contractor for the Refuge.  Located at the nearby Overton Bottoms North Unit the bridge provides foot access to an additional 500 acres of refuge previously inaccessible do to a dangerous creek crossing.  The Overton North and Overton South Units are separated by Interstate 70 highway but a bridge and overpass provide connectivity for wildlife.  The two units together comprise of over 6,300 acres and are by far the largest contiguous block of land for wildlife on the Refuge.


Future plans for the Overton North Unit include a 3 mile loop trail starting and ending at the new bridge.  An Eagle Scout candidate from Columbia, Missouri is interested in taking on the project with help from the Friends.  The trail is planned to be completed in the spring. 


With help from Friends the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge looks forward to future growth.  This growth will not only include more land for wildlife but also improving those lands for wildlife and developing opportunities for the public to enjoy them.   

Contact Info: Tim Haller, 573-441-2799, tim_haller@fws.gov
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