The Fourth of July celebration — albeit a soggy, waterlogged one — will go on at most reservoirs in Missouri and Kansas.
After two months of almost nonstop rain, many popular water playgrounds in the region were left flooded. But heavy releases by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have dropped water levels to the point where boat ramps and campgrounds are accessible.
The situation might not be totally back to normal, but at least the show will go on.
“With the heavy releases we’ve been making, our water level has been falling five to six inches per day,” said Derek Dorsey of the Corps of Engineers at Smithville, where the water is still seven feet above normal. “We have boat ramps that are accessible, and a lot of the campsites will be available.
“Some of the camping areas will be muddy and have debris, but others are in good shape.”
The same is true at reservoirs such as Perry, Clinton, Melvern and Hillsdale. The water was high and access difficult just a week and a half ago. But heavy water releases have dropped levels to near normal.
But there are exceptions. At Tuttle Creek Reservoir near Manhattan, Kan., the water level was still 23 feet high as of Thursday. The Corps of Engineers is releasing a torrent from the swollen reservoir, but all boat ramps are closed. The campground at Stockdale Park is closed and primitive sites at Tuttle Creek Cove are closed, though some utility sites are still open.
“Some people are launching boats from county roads, but that’s about it,” said Brian McNulty of the Corps of Engineers.
There are similar problems at Bull Shoals Lake in the Ozarks, where the water is 20 feet high. There most boat ramps, campgrounds and beaches are flooded and out of use.
“For this weekend, accessibility will be very limited,” said Jon Hiser of the Corps of Engineers. “It’s just something we’ll have to live with.”
Good news for duck hunters
Results of surveys of duck breeding populations across the northern United States and Canada should get hunters excited about fall.
Total populations were estimated at 49.5 million, the highest on record and 51 percent above the 1955-2014 long-term average. That total, derived from surveys conducted in May and early June, was virtually the same as last year’s total of 49.3 million.
Among the species popular in Missouri and Kansas, mallards were estimated at 11.6 million, 51 percent above the long-term average; blue-winged teal at 8.5 million, 73 percent above the long-term average; gadwalls at 3.8 million, 100 percent above the long-term average; and wigeons at 3 million, 17 percent above the long-term average.
The only disappointment was the state of pintails, which were estimated at 3 million, 24 percent below the long-term.
Pass the frog legs please
Things are hopping in Missouri ad Kansas.
The frogging season opened this week in Missouri and Kansas, and that means many outdoors enthusiasts are out chasing creatures that keep the night life hopping.
The most popular method is giggng them. But they are taken in a variety of other ways including by hand, net, bow, trotline .22 -caliber rifle and other methods. They can be taken on either a fishing or hunting permit, depending on the method you chose.
The daily limit is 8 frogs per person in both states.
To contact outdoors editor Brent Frazee, call 816-234-4319 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter@fishboybrent.