Description - Clarence Cannon NWR was established in 1964 with funds from the purchase of migratory waterfowl stamps. It lies in Pike County, MO, Pool 25 about one mile east of the small town of Annada, MO. The Clarence Cannon Refuge - named for Clarence Cannon, a former Missouri congressman - is the headquarters for the Great River NWR. The area was formerly part of an agricultural levee district, and all but a few hundred acres is encompassed by a levee. This NWR covering 3,750 acres of Mississippi River floodplain, was established to provide a feeding and resting area for migratory birds.
Over 2000 acres of this refuge are managed for wetland plant production. In addition to water control, the wetland management units are disced, burned, mowed and cropped to maintain a diversity of plants which provide excellent forage for migratory shorebirds, marsh birds and waterfowl. Over 400 acres on Clarence Cannon NWR are annually cropped by cooperative farmers. Corn, soybeans, winter wheat and clover are rotated through the crop fields and wetland management units to maintain diversity. The hardwood trees were severely impacted by the prolonged 1993 flooding. Over 80% of the pin oaks and hickories died, but some natural regeneration is occurring. Approximately 450 acres of bottomland forest remains.
Following the 1993 flood, an 800-foot spillway was cut into the Mississippi River levee on the southeast side of the refuge. The construction allows flood waters to enter the refuge more frequently. The spillway has provided increased connectivity to the river and temporary floodwater storage, which may help reduce downstream flooding on private lands.
The refuge has many visitors who come to observe over 200 species of migratory birds, including bald eagles, waterfowl, shorebirds and songbirds. Many birds also nest on the refuge including the king rail (a Missouri state endangered species) and a pair of bald eagles.
A managed deer hunt is conducted Clarence Cannon. Fishing by boat is permitted in Bryant’s Creek along the southern refuge boundary. Portions of the refuge are seasonally closed to public entry based on peak waterfowl migrations.
- The 3750 acre Clarence Cannon NWR is adjacent to the Mississippi River and although it is protected by a levee, the area does provide flood storage in periods of high water. Habitats on these areas include moist soil units, semi and permanent marshes, bottomland hardwood forests and native grasslands.
The pumping station allows for water management capabilities on all moist soil units and semipermanent marshes and green tree reservoirs. These areas are very important to a variety of migratory birds including numerous ducks, geese, shorebirds, marsh and wading birds and songbirds (neotropical and North American migrants and resident species).
The diverse area also provides habitats for a variety of endangered and threatened species (and species of concern) including the bald eagle and king rail (state endangered). Clarence Cannon NWR is managed by the Annada District of the Mark Twain NWR.
Recreation - Cuivre River State Park, located south of Clarence Cannon NWR, offers a variety of outdoor opportunities including hiking and camping.
Climate - Illinois experiences four distinct seasons with varying weather throughout the year. Winter can be very cold. The highest humidity of the year occurs during this season averaging 70 to 75 percent. Average low temperatures in January dip to 20 degrees F with highs near 35 degrees F. Spring temperatures are mild with humidity below 70 percent. Temperatures during this season average between 32 and 50 degrees F. Summer is usually hot and humid in this Midwest state. Low temperatures remain in the low sixties with high temperatures near 90 degrees F. The highest rainfall of the year occurs during the summer months. Fall is an excellent time to visit the state with low humidity and rainfall and moderate temperatures.
From St. Louis, take I-70 west to the Highway 79 exit. Take Highway 79 north approximately 35 miles to the town of Annada. In Annada, take County Road 206 east one mile to the refuge office.