River of Sand – The Bottom of the Big Muddy
Published: May 12, 2020
Presentation by Carrie Elliott, USGS River Studies Branch
Original Presentation on Tuesday, May 12, 2020
When you look at the surface of the Big Muddy do you wonder about what is going on below? Let’s explore what the U.S. Geological Survey has been learning about what is happening on the bottom of the Missouri River.
The riverbed is dynamic and changes as flows go up and down. Carrie Elliott and her colleagues at the USGS have been surveying the Missouri River to help understand pallid sturgeon habitat since 2008. They have mapped moving sand dunes, deep holes, trees, and rocky outcrops on the bottom of the river. Carrie shared some of the insights they’ve found about the bottom of the Big Muddy.
During the flood of 2019 they mapped the same 2-mile long reach of the Missouri River near Lexington, Missouri nine times and found some interesting changes in the sand dunes on the river bed over the course of the flood event. There was a lot of water, and it was moving faster than usual, but the biggest challenge in mapping during the flood last summer during the flood was finding an accessible boat ramp. In addition to highlighting some of the flood work, Carrie will share some interesting maps from a few sites you might recognize around Boone County.
Carrie Elliott has worked on Missouri River habitat dynamics for the U.S. Geological Survey at the Columbia Environmental Research Center since 2002. She has a master’s degree from Utah State University and her work with the River Studies Branch has addressed physical habitat on large rivers at multiple spatial scales using a variety field, GIS, and remote-sensing tools. She has worked closely with biologists on a variety of interdisciplinary projects related to river corridor habitats and geomorphology from hydroacoustic mapping to landscape-scale habitat classification.
Resources & Links
Dig deeper for more info on this topic.
- Watch this presentation on YouTube
- BLOG – Comprehensive Sturgeon Research Project – a fascinating look at the work of CERC scientists to learn about the pallid sturgeon.
- RADIO – “Missouri Researchers Study New Ways Farmers Can Fight Water Pollution” – Sept. 2016 – KCUR 89.3
- Columbia Environmental Research Center
- VIDEO – Interview with Caroline Elliott about her work and the bottom of the Missouri River.
- VIDEO – Big Muddy Speaker Series – “Probing the Depths of the Big Muddy” with Caroline Elliott (April 25, 2017)
- RESEARCH – River Corridor Habitat Dynamics, USGS
- RESEARCH – “Characterization of Pallid Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) Spawning Habitat in the Lower Missouri River” – USGS – Elliott, Delonay, Chojnacki, Jacobson – 2020
- RESEARCH – “Measurement of bedform migration rates on the Lower Missouri River” – USGS – Elliott, Jacobson – 2016
- RESEARCH – “Ecological requirements for pallid sturgeon reproduction and recruitment in the Missouri River—A synthesis of science, 2005 to 2012”
- RESEARCH – “Development of a Channel Classification to Evaluate Potential for Cottonwood Restoration, Lower Segments of the Middle Missouri River”
- RESEARCH – “Geomorphic Classification and Assessment of Channel Dynamics in the Missouri National Recreational River, South Dakota and Nebraska”.
The Big Muddy Speaker Series in Rocheport
is hosted by these wonderful partners.
- Missouri River Relief
- Les Bourgeois Vineyards
- Katy Trail Bed & Breakfast
- Missouri River Cultural Conservancy (MoRivCC)
Streaming is sponsored by Rivermiles, the folks who bring you the MR340.
Special thanks to Les Bourgeois Vineyards for giving us the opportunity to use their beautiful space overlooking the Missouri River. All speakers are presenting for free! Thank you all for sharing your knowledge with us!
And a special tip of the hat to volunteer David Owens who has been doing the sound for the Speaker Series for several years.
Our thanks to Dave and the good people of MoRivCC who are video recording these presentations when possible.
The Big Muddy Speaker Series also takes place monthly in Kansas City and St. Charles.
The views and opinions expressed by our presenters do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of Missouri River Relief, the Big Muddy Speaker Series or any of the partners that support this public forum. The Big Muddy Speaker Series believes that hearing diverse perspectives is a crucial building block for an informed public.