A Missouri Department of Conservation dump truck unloads shot rock into a trench last week at Dogs Bluff Access on the Big Piney River to form a foundation under boulders between the parking area and the slope adjacent to the river. 

Following any big flooding event, the Missouri Department of Conservation has its hands full making sure river accesses within the affected area are usable.

After heavy rains fell for days on end in the southern part of the state during the first week of this month, the Big Piney River swelled and its waters ran as high or higher than many longtime Texas County residents can recall. When the water receded, the Dogs Bluff Access on Highway 17 west of Houston had taken a beating, and the MDC went to work.

But the work included more than just replacing soil on the riverbank where people like to hang out on sunny days. Workers also extended the length of the boat launch ramp and installed strategically located strips of heavy chunks of rock on both sides of the ramp and between the parking area and the riverbank.

MDC Texas County resource assistant Bryant Chilton said the addition of the “shot rock” is designed to provide a foundation for the big boulders that separate the parking lot and the day area, and to hopefully limit the effects of raging water during the next flood period.

“Every time we have a high water event, there’s a lot of maintenance involved,” Chilton said, “and this is an attempt to reduce that. We have to put the big boulders there for a barricade, and what ends up happening is that the water rolls up over them and picks up velocity and washes out the chat on the other side. We’re putting the shot rock in to give the water a hard surface to hit on and hopefully have less damage.”

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