The dry weather this week couldn’t have come at a better time for people who enjoy using area reservoirs.
After as much as six inches of rain fell in some parts of eastern Kansas over several days, water levels rose quickly at several reservoirs. Much the same as last year, some boat ramps are flooded and out of use, parking lots are covered in water, fish have dispersed in the abundance of new cover that has been flooded, and some campsites are closed.
Welcome to 2015 all over again. Well, kind of.
Unlike last year, there has been a break in all of the rain, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been able to begin making heavy releases from the reservoirs.
“We’ve been fortunate with the good weather,” said Jonathan Carlisle, recreation program manager for the Kansas City District of the Corps. “We’ve been able to make some large releases, and that’s helped.”
Still, several reservoirs remain flooded, with high water complicating recreation.
▪ Tuttle Creek Reservoir in Manhattan has been the hardest hit of the area reservoirs. Its water level is 22 feet high, and most boat ramps are inaccessible.
▪ Perry Reservoir near Topeka also has more water than it wants. The water level there is 13 feet high. All marinas and many boat ramps remain open, and the situation is improving daily with the Corps of Engineers making heavy water releases.
▪ High water also has affected recreation at Pomona (12 feet high), Clinton (10 feet high) and Melvern (7 feet high).
“We’re urging boaters to use caution,” Carlisle said. “There are new obstacles under the water that they might not be aware of and a lot of debris in the water in some cases.”
Missouri reservoirs have largely been unaffected, although Truman is 5 feet high and Smithville is 4 feet high.
Corps of Engineers officials at Tuttle Creek estimate it will be June 21 or 22 before the water level drops to near normal. And that’s assuming that there are no more major rain events in the reservoir’s drainage area.
Fishing without a rod and reel
Looking for some help learning how to fish with trotlines, juglines, bows and arrows, or gigs? Here’s your chance.
The Missouri Department of Conservation will hold a class on fishing with those “alternative methods” from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Burr Oak Woods Nature Center in Blue Springs. The class is free, but advance registration is required. Call 816-228-3766 to sign up.
The class will meet indoors, but participants also will be able to go outdoors and check trotlines and juglines that will be set earlier at the pond on the grounds.
National Trails Day
Many Missouri state parks and historic sites will have special events Saturday to celebrate National Trails Day.
Events such as interpretive hikes, nature programs and special promotions will be included. For more information on which state parks and historic sites will offer programs, go to website https://mostateparks.com/page/60400/national-trails-day.
In 2013, Missouri was named the best trails state in the nation by American Trails, a national nonprofit group.
What’s In Outdoors
The What’s In Outdoors Fund based in Emporia, Kan., has been active in funding outdoors programs recently.
The program, through the Emporia Community Foundation, presented a check for $1,000 to Special Olympics to find, among other things, outdoor-recreation programs for people with disabilities.
What’s In Outdoors also announced that Michael Joe Petty of Leawood, a student at Shawnee Mission South High School, has been chosen as the group’s scholarship winner. Petty is a two-time individual champion in the Kansas State EcoMeet, and has a passionate interest in the state’s wildlife and environment. He has been active in the school’s Environmental Laboratory,and has channeled his passion for Kansas into a successful pottery business.