© 2023 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Wetland rehabilitation at Columbia Bottom

Columbia Bottom flood pool
Columbia Bottom flood pool

By Adam Allington, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Missouri Department of Conservation are teaming up to rehabilitate wetland habitat along the Missouri River.

Representatives for the Corps of Engineers referred to the Missouri River Mitigation Project as a "string of pearls".

The first pearl on that string is the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area, located at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers just north of St. Louis. Other up-river rehab projects are scheduled to follow.

Tom Leifield is a Wildlife Management Biologist with the Department of Conservation says the floodplain seed bank is still there it just needs water.

"Actually some of the weed plants that the farmers have always fought with down here are very good seed producers...when we re-flood them in the fall it's a great food source for the waterfowl who migrate through here," says Leifield.

The 9-million dollar project includes a pump station that floods fields left dry when the Missouri River was channeled to allow barges to sail from St. Louis up to Sioux City, Iowa.

"The pump structure here is sort of like an iceberg, it goes 40 feet below the ground," says Liefield.

"There are intake pipes that allow the water to come in from the bottom of the river into the bottom of the pit. They pump the water up through a system of pipelines and out onto the conservation area and into the pools."

The pumping station will deliver water from the Mississippi River to seven managed flood pools.