After the Great Flood of 1993, what used to be farmland in the bottoms, was turned into a refuge for wildlife. This refuge became the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, which is located in the Cooper County bottoms across from Rocheport.

“We are excited to welcome you to the official dedication of the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge office and visitor contact station on Thursday. This special event is for the local community, our partners and refuge staff to celebrate the completion of the largest Maintenance Action Team (MAT) project in the history of the program,” a release from Forest and Wildlife Service stated.

Everyone is welcome to the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge Office and Visitor Contact Station Grand Opening at noon to 3 p.m. (Remarks start at 1 p.m., with refreshments to follow)

The location of the office is at 18500 Brady Lane, Boonville MO, 65233

“The Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge was created in September of 1994 for the development, advancement, management, conservation and protection of fish and wildlife resources,” according to fws.gov/refuge/Big_Muddy/wildlife_and_habitat/index.html. “The historic Missouri River was nicknamed the “Big Muddy” because it ran murky with sediments it carried, also created beneficial wildlife habitat.  The river’s ability to carve through its floodplain and create side channels, wetlands and oxbow lakes attracted and sustained wildlife since the retreating of the glaciers over 10,000 years ago. Changes began to occur on the Missouri River soon after the journey of Lewis and Clark described its wildlife and wonders to the world. Over the next century more than 300 steamships sank in the Missouri River. Its murky, swift water hid snags and shallow shoals ready to rip through a ship’s hull. Efforts to control the river began full scale at the turn of the 20th century.  Congress enacted the Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project to control the river by building pile dikes to direct flow and prevent bank erosion. By 1980, the Missouri River had been channelized 735 miles from Sioux City, Iowa, to St. Louis, Missouri. Channelization reduced fish and wildlife habitat by separating the river from its floodplain.”

For more inforamtion, contactThomas G. "Tom" Bell at 573-999-5204, or at tom_bell@fws.gov.