By Anna Boiko-Weyrauch
A two-lane road leads over the Missouri River to Rulo, Nebraska where Wild Bill’s Tavern greets travelers with “Thirsty Thursday” $1.75 drink specials. On the Missouri side, the land beside the road curves over corn stalks and cobs buried in the compacted sand, and tumbles in a pool of murky green water.
“This levee failing here is not a bad thing,” Kneuvean said, standing with the water on his right and a pit of black mud on his left. “It creates the habitat that we needed.”
A place like this can be home for deer, raccoons and muskrat. It can host thickets of cottonwoods or willow that sprout from flood-borne seeds, and catfish, carp and sunfish can flourish in the pools.
Moreover, it creates a “safety valve,” Kneuvean said. During a flood, surging water can be diverted into this channel and slowed.
The habitat is not certain, though. Some scour pits have been around since the 1950’s, but Kneuvean said you can’t count on them sticking around.
—Edited by Megan LaManna