In The News

Note:  Scroll down for updated information regarding spillway construction (July 2016).

Refuge Visitor Center Open

The Mingo National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center and Headquarters building is now open.  The building was completed and open to the public in May of 2014.  The building is open Monday - Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. March through November.  During the winter months, the building switches to being open Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m to 4 p.m.

The visitor center includes exhibits that discuss the history, habitat and management of Mingo National Wildlife Refuge.  The building also includes a multipurpose room which is used for school groups, refuge programs and Mingo Swamp Friends meetings.  The Friends Group manages a Bookstore in the visitor center in which proceeds from the sales go back to supporting refuge activities.  

You can get involved by helping in the visitor center operations.  The Friends are always looking for members to help in managing the bookstore operations.  Refuge staff also use volunteers to help staff the front desk to greet and orientate visitors to the refuge.  Contact the refuge office at 573-222-3589 if you are interested in volunteering.  Hope to see you out on the refuge!

Mingo National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center and Headquarters Building

  Old Spillway Structure to be Replaced
            in the late Summer of 2015

In 2012, Mingo NWR was awarded a $1,000,000 grant to the Mingo Basin Partnership II North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) for wetland restoration and enhancement work. In partnership with Ducks Unlimited, Missouri Department of Conservation, Audubon Society of Missouri, Conservation Federation of Missouri, Conservation Employees Credit Union, Missouri Conservation Pioneers, Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative, Mississippi Valley Duck Hunters, and United Country Realty, the Friends of Mingo Swamp committed funding to replace the old radial gate structure (Spillway) on Ditch 11/15. Work to replace the structure will begin in the summer of 2014. The old structure was installed in 1950; it is undersized and ageing. Due to the current size of the structure, adequate drainage of the Mingo Basin cannot be achieved. The reduced size also limits the ability of water to flow off the refuge and surrounding areas during high rainfall events and can result in prolonged high water conditions on and off the refuge. The new structure will still be able to allow vehicles to pass over to access the popular Ozark Highlands Auto Tour  Route on the west side of the refuge.

The new Spillway structure will help protect and enhance diverse wetlands and associated habitats for migratory birds and other wildlife that use Mingo NWR and surrounding lands. The project will occur in an area of Missouri that has lost 90% of its historic wetlands. The bottomland habitats within the Mingo Basin currently make up one of the largest and least degraded bottomland hardwood systems in the north Mississippi Alluvial Valley. More than 250 species of waterfowl, songbirds, and neotropical songbirds use this important region at some point in their migration. Other than serving as a major migration and wintering area for migratory birds; the diversity of fish, amphibian, reptile, invertebrate, bird and mammal species in the bottomland hardwood system including the historic Mingo Basin is among the greatest of any ecosystem in North America.

Update July 19, 2016:  Work has begun to replace the spillway structure. Construction is expected to last approximately two months (weather permitting).  The Ozark Highlands Auto Tour will be partially closed during the construction.  Those wanting to access the auto tour will have to enter the refuge via County Road 518 off Z Highway.  For more details, contact the refuge at 573-222-3589.

View of current radial gate Spillway to be replaced. Photo - USFWS

  Ozark Highlands Auto Tour Route Road Improvements Complete

The Ozark Highlands Auto Tour Route roadwork was completed in June of 2014.  The gravel sections have been refurbished and all the slopes have been repaved.  New culverts were installed to help with the water runoff issues. and two new bridges were put in along the route.  With the road completed, the auto tour will go back to its original route of going along the western and northern side of the refuge where it will go down Ditch 3 to meet up with Red Mill Drive.  As a result of the road improvements, the refuge will be able to keep this popular driving route open for more times of the year.  As long as conditions allow, the refuge plans to have the route open March through November.  The ATR traverses between the Ozark Plateau and the bottomland hardwood forest; and touches through the 7,730-acre Wilderness Area.  Along the way, visitors can enjoy the scenic Stanley Creek or can stop and hike the trail to the Depression-era Sweet Family Cabin.  


View of Monopoly Marsh from the Auto Tour Route and Monopoly Overlook.
Photo - USFWS

One of the repaved sections of the Ozark Highlands Auto Tour Route.

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