By ERIC X. VICCARO
City of Ste. Genevieve administrator Happy Welch addressed the Levee District No. 3 board during its regular meeting on Feb. 9.
Welch was primarily there to discuss the future Ste. Genevieve Levee Wildlife Refuge signage and trail designation.
This is all part of the conveyance process from the levee district to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
Welch handed out a sheet filled with information and other specific details.
The first sign will placed at the intersection of Main and Division Streets, with a second kiosk sign at a soon-to-be constructed parking area.
Welch said the parking area, which will be allocated from a line item in the city’s budget, will feature a limited number of gravel-covered spots — either five or six.
A portion of the road from Main Street to the parking area will be renamed Stormy Crawford Way.
Walter “Stormy” Crawford Jr. was a noted ornithologist, the executive director and founder of the World Bird Sanctuary in the St. Louis-area community Valley Park.
There will be additional signs on the Mississippi Flyway, a sign depicting native fish, a floodplain forest sign and a resident wildlife sign.
On the refuge map Welch presented, there will be additional trails named for former local U.S. representatives Bill Emerson (R) and Richard Gephardt (D), the latter who was at one point house minority leader and 2004 presidential candidate.
A “farming” road, including a lane going through the woods to a field, has been proposed to be named for current levee district chairman Vern Bauman.
The borrow pit also will be rechristened as Lake Audubon.
“I would like to see some progress on this,” Ste. Genevieve Mayor Paul Hassler said during the meeting.
Levee superintendent Norman Gallup was expected to contact the United States Corps of Engineers to get approval on beginning sign installation.
The signs will need the accompanying concretes bases to ensure sturdiness.
It was also reported an easement will be necessary in order to allow the levee district access to the borrow site.
Hassler also during the meeting expressed his concerns over recent weather, and how that would impact the Mississippi River.
River forecasts at Chester, Ill. — the closest National Weather Service (NWS) reporting site — take into account recent past precipitation amounts while issuing future projections.
On March 12, the Mississippi River was estimated at 17 feet. With soaking rains and runoff from areas to the north, the river stood at 30.09 feet on Friday.
It wasn’t expected to crest until this past Monday, at a near estimated 35.9 feet.
According to a graph provided by the NWS, the action level is 25 feet, with minor flooding at 27 feet — which is considered the overall flood stage.
At a crest of 35.9 feet, it’s nowhere near the record levels from the floods of the 1970s and 1990s. But, this is still labeled a “moderate” flood condition.
The river stage is forecasted to fall during the next week with fewer rainy periods.