Monday, June 15, 2009

Patoka River Wildlife Management Area

I took a ride up to the Patoka River Wildlife Management area on Saturday. Didn't see a whole lot of wildlife. I did see this patch of what I think are blackberries along the river trail.

If you want to learn more check out the Auto Tour Narrative here.

The Patoka river is an example of water management gone bad. In the early 1900s the river was channelized. A barge was moved in a more or less straight line for 17 miles or so and a channel was cut to encourage better draining and to make the land more hospitable for farming. Some genius failed to realize that the spoil banks on either side would keep the water from seasonal floods from draining back into the river. So the project turned marginal agricultural land into swamps. Turns out that the slow draining of the original river course had more to do with the level on the Wabash river than anything.

Seems like Blue Herons are becoming a specialty. Happened across this one at the boat ramp in the google map link. Pretty big fish - some sort of sun fish - according to Wikipedia. Gulped it down whole and flew off. Click to enlarge.

View Larger Map

The heron picture is at the boat ramp in the center of the map. The turtles are near the fishing pier off to the east. Zoom out and go north to see the Patoka River channel.

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