The Friends of Big Muddy National Fish & Wildlife Refuge is a coalition of individuals and organizations dedicated to supporting habitat restoration, outreach, and education to conserve and enhance the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.
The Units of the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge
You are welcome to explore these units to take photos and observe wildlife, and enjoy the out of doors. See fhe Refuge Brochure (below) for details. Many of the refuge units are difficult to access and to distinguish between adjacent private property because the boundary is not always well marked. Please be considerate of adjacent private property and avoid trespassing. If you are interested in an area and are unsure of the boundary contact the refuge for further details. In general all of the refuge is open to hunting and fishing consistent with state regulations, however certain restrictions may apply. Please consult the Refuge Regulations and contact the refuge staff if you have questions.
Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, 4200 New Haven Road, Columbia, MO 65201
The Jackass Bend Unit is located in extreme southwestern Ray County and northeastern Jackson County. This unit, three miles west of Orrick off of Missouri Highway 210, consists of approximately 843 acres lying almost entirely within an old oxbow or bend of the river. During periods of high flow or heavy rainfall portions of the old oxbow hold a shallow body of water. The name of the unit comes from a team of mules that were swept away when trying to cross this portion of the Missouri River over a century ago. Jackass Bend Unit website
Baltimore Bend Unit:
The Baltimore Bottom Unit is located in Lafayette County approximately 3 miles west of Waverly, Missouri. The habitat of this unit consists of large open areas gradually reverting to wet prairie and floodplain forest. Employees of Wal-Mart have volunteered as a group several times in the past removing trash and planting native species. Next to the river parcels of large cottonwood and silver maple forest exist. A small parcel of approximately 20 acres of river hills forest exists near the small community of Hodge. A unique natural island, owned by the Missouri Department of Conservation, exists in the Missouri River adjacent to this unit.
This unit is located in northwestern Saline County and northeastern Lafayette County just north of Grand Pass, Missouri. The unit consists of two parcels. The larger parcel, 745 acres, consists of open grassland areas and floodplain forests in various stages of maturity. A portion of this parcel is farmed under contract. Included in this parcel is the Cranberry Chute a side channel of the Missouri River that forms an island. The island is 68 acres of floodplain forest. Cranberry Bend Unit website
Lisbon Bottom Unit: This unit occupies a large bend in the Missouri River floodplain totaling 2,013 acres and primarily consists of a young vigorous forest of cottonwood and willow. This unit is north and across the river from the Jameson Island Unit. There is little development on this unit of refuge, and visitors are encouraged to prepare for a primitive experience. This would include bringing extra water, a compass or GPS, boots (preferably waterproof), and being prepared for changes in the weather. These bottoms can be deceiving; the lack of landmarks and dense vegetation can easily confuse even an experienced outdoors personLisbon Bottoms Unit website
Jameson Island Unit: The Jameson Island unit occupies a large bend of the Missouri River floodplain in Saline County, below the historic community of Arrow Rock. The unit consists of 1,871 acres of bottom land forest of cottonwood, willow, box elder, and other floodplain species. This unit is south of and across the river from the Lisbon unit. The two units are similar and combined provide 4,000 acres of public land for hunting, fishing, and exploring. Jameson Island Unit website
Overton Bottoms North Unit: Thi is the most accessible unit of the refuge. It consists of large areas of open fields with a mixture of native and exotic grasses and forbs. In addition there are large areas of dense young forests consisting primarily of cottonwood, silver maple, willow, and box elder. A narrow strip of mature cottonwood trees exists along the river. A gravel road traverses this unit from which the visitor can observe the above-mentioned areas and new tree plantings. These planted trees are species that historically existed in limited numbers and locations of the Missouri River floodplain. Channelization of the Missouri River and subsequent conversion of the resulting stabilized floodplain to agriculture resulted in the removal of once extensive forests. These forests were historically primarily cottonwoods, but also included a few small groves of hardwoods. Overton Bottoms North Unit website
Overton Bottoms South Unit The Overton Bottoms South Unit is the largest unit of the refuge. It consists of small crop fields adjacent to open fields with a mixture of grasses and forbs. In addition there are large areas of dense young forests consisting primarily of cottonwood, silver maple, willow, and box elder. A narrow strip of mature cottonwood trees exists along the river. Some seasonal wetlands exist during heavy rainfall periods or high river flows. There are also scour hole lakes remaining from previous flood events. These areas attract some waterfowl and fishing in the scours can be good.This unit was previously the Overton Bottoms Conservation Area managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation and is now managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Overton Bottoms South Unit website
St. Aubert's Island Unit: This unit, located in northern Osage County in east central Missouri, contains 1,124 acres and is comprised of about 700 acres of bottomland and 400 acres of upland forests and old fields. Most of the bottomland of the St. Aubert Island Unit consists of dense new tree growth and pockets of larger mature cottonwoods and maples. The upland has a mixture of open fields and woodlands of oak and hickory. The only public access is from the Missouri River. St. Aubert's Island Unit website
Boone's Crossing Unit: In Chesterfield The Boone's Crossing Unit is located in northeastern St. Louis county. It lies in Chesterfield bottoms just east of the Highway 40/64 bridge across the Missouri River. The unit is has two parcels, 442 acre Johnson Island and 130 acre parcel next to the Chesterfield Athletic Complex. These two parcels are seperated by a side channel of the Missouri River. Due to its close proximity to city of Chesterfield and other urban developments, the 130 acres adjacent to the Chesterfield Athletic Complex is open to Archery hunting only. No Firearms are allowed. Boone Crossing Unit Web site
Cora Island: . Located just three miles upstream on the Missouri River from the confluence of the Mississippi River the Cora Island Unit is the refuges eastern most unit. It occupies 1,265 acres mostly on a reminant island of the Missouri River. Cora Island Unit is open to deer hunting, archery methods only. Hunting for other game restricted to shotgun only with shot no larger than BB.Cora Island Unit website
Directions to Office Headquarters: To reach the refuge headquarters in Southeast Columbia, MO, take the AC exit off Highway 63; turn east onto New Haven Road. Travel one mile to USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center. The refuge office is located down the third driveway on the right off New Haven Rd.