Black River Day Trip - Lesterville, MO 8/6/06
Natasha and I decided to head down to the Black River here in Missouri for an afternoon Day trip. The Black River is a clear running gravel bottom Ozark stream that has a gentle gradient and is perfect for lazy floats in a canoe. If you catch it just right, you can do pretty good catching smallmouth bass. In Missouri we have a volunteer organization called Stream Team. The purpose of Stream Team is keep the rivers of Missouri clean and monitor their health. My team has adopted roughly five miles of the Black River.
The Black River has recently been the center of an engineering disaster that I've been following rather closely for the past 8 months or so. AmerenUE, our local electrical provider, has a pump storage facilty located on a mountain near Lesterville, MO. The facility consists of a billion gallon "upper" resevoir and an even larger "lower" resevoir. The lower resevoir is fed by a tributary of the Black River called the East Fork of the Black River. Water is then pumped up to the upper resevoir during low demand periods. When demand for electricity peaks, the water is released from the upper resevoir to the lower resevoir down a mile long tunnel, thus turning turbines.
Last December, one side of the kidney shapped upper resevoir gave away and dumped the entire volume of the resevoir down the mountain side. The rush of nearly a billion gallons of water stripped the mountain side down to bedrock and all but demolished at very popular state park called Johnson Shut-Ins (JSI) in which the East Fork flows through a serious of closed in rocks known as "shut-ins". Five people suffered minor injuries and were treated for hypotherma. No one was killed. Luckily this this had happened during winter and the campground was empty. One of the ugly side effects of this event was the amount of silt that has been draining into lower resevoir from the East Fork and eventually into the clear running Black River. The latest effort to control the silt problem has resulted in a full drain of the lower resevoir. I had to see it for myself.
Under normal conditions, the water would be nearly to the top of this overflow dam.
Hopefully this will fix the silt issue. It was rather depressing to look down into the river and not be able to see the bottom this January. It does look much better then it did even just a few months ago, but it's not back to normal just yet.
Anyway, here's a few pictures from today
Neat fish that was incredibly not too scared of me walking right up to it:
Looking up the Black River from the beginning of our adopted portion. Not a bad place to be on a 98° day!
And the required picture of the truck on the gravel bar:
This jaunt also gave me a chance to test out the new OME suspension and Kuhmo tires on twisty paved roads and twisty gravel roads. We loaded a few hundred pounds in the form of sand bags into the bed to mimic the weight of our gear for a typical week long trip. I was pleased with the improvement both on the paved roads and on the loose gravel roads. Money well spent!
To see more pictures of the damage from the resevoir breach, click here and here
2006 Fleetwood Neon