Pearls Along the River – the Big Muddy Refuge

Published: July 11, 2012

Original Presentation- “Pearls along the River – The Big Muddy National Fish & Wildlife Refuge”

By Tom Bell,

Manager for the Big Muddy National Fish & Wildlife Refuge”. 

Jameson Island and Lisbon Bottoms

The Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge is comprised of 11 separate units totalling approximately 16,000 acres located along the Missouri River floodplain between Kansas City and the St. Louis area. Using a passive management model, these “pearls on a string” include chutes, islands, wet prairies, bottomland forests, scour holes and lakes and areas that are allowed to flood in high water.

The St. Louis metro area has two units of the refuge, Boone’s Crossing and Cora Island, yet few people in the public realize this amazing resource is at their back door. Refuge Manager Tom Bell, Manager of the Big Muddy Refuge, made a presentation on the refuge, including the history, and overview of the refuge units across the state, plans for restoration projects in the refuge and what they’ve learned since the refuge started.

The refuge is supported by Friends of Big Muddy, an organization dedicated to helping the refuge accomplish their goals of restoration and improving visitor contact. Diane Oerly, the president of Friends of Big Muddy, will gave a brief talk about the organization and how to be involved.

A special thank you to Greg Poleski of Greenway Network for making this happen in St. Charles!

Big Muddy National Fish & Wildlife Refuge Units


The talk was preceded by a walk along the Missouri River through historic St. Charles to the First Capital Building. 



Phone: 573-876-1826
V/TTY: 800-735-2966
4200 New Haven Road
Columbia, MO 65201

The Big Muddy Speakers Series in St. Charles

is hosted by these wonderful partners:

All speakers are presenting for free and Big A’s is sharing the space for free! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with all of us!

The Big Muddy Speaker Series also takes place monthly in Rocheport and Kansas City.

A special thank you to Greenway Networkand Mike Clark of Big Muddy Adventures for making this happen!

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