5/3/2017 - CASSVILLE, Mo. – Flash flooding at Roaring River State Park set a new high water mark and caused damage never seen before along the stream.
Fish Hatchery manager Paul Spurgeon says under normal conditions, 20-million gallons of water flows out of the Roaring River spring; over the weekend, 150-million gallons was pouring out.
“[The rain] came a lot harder, faster and deeper than we expected,” says Spurgeon. “We actually had water inside our hatchery building but we never lost any fish, we kept them all safe."
Luckily Missouri Department of Conservation crews were able to move the excess water through the hatchery to protect the trout, but there were things they couldn’t control.
At the end of the campground, Roaring River left its banks and cut a brand new path for the stream, cutting off road access to the wastewater treatment facility in the process.
"This is going to be quite a deal to fix,” says Spurgeon.
“It’s going to require some engineering and quite of bit of planning to figure out how to get the river back in place,” he says, “and also fix the bank so it doesn't happen again."
Flooding also moved rock into areas like the fishing pools located below the hatchery.
Following the flooding in 2015, 900 truckloads of dirt were removed from the fishing ponds. Spurgeon estimates at least that amount will be removed again.
"A lot of that will have to wait until the water goes down some,” he says. “The baffles in the pools will have to be [dredged]… you can't even see them right now. So, as the water drops were going to concentrate on fixing the stocking roads and the banks and stuff like that."
But he calls the construction crews “the eraser” for a reason. He says, like the cleanup in 2015, they will soon have the park looking as though nothing ever happened.
"Every day the park gets a little better,” Spurgeon says. “Right now, the upper part of the park is open to fishing and we're getting ready to open the lower part pretty soon."
Spurgeon says upcoming events like “Kids Fishing Day,” scheduled for May 20, will continue as planned.
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