9. Oakwood Bottoms 2

Historically, migrating and wintering ducks have utilized these naturally flooded bottomland forests in the Mississippi River floodplain for productive habitat and food sources. However, farmers have recognized that through appropriated drainage systems and clearing, the bottomlands can be farmed as one of the most productive soil types in the region. Levees, channelization, dredging and other flood control measures have altered water flows so seasonal flooding no longer occurs. Protected areas outside the levees lack normal water fluctuations and lose their wetland characteristics, while inside the levees, flooding occurs for longer time periods and to greater water depths, eventually greatly reducing the productivity of the wetland. These land use changes have severely limited the availability of wintering and migrating waterfowl habitat in the Mississippi Flyway.