The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) today announced that it is providing another $5.6 million for construction of the Little Otter Creek Reservoir. The 344-acre lake in Caldwell County will provide a dependable water supply for about 10,000 people, as well as flood control and recreational opportunities.
NRCS State Conservationist J.R. Flores said the funding completes the federal commitment of $16 million for the project. State and local entities will provide the remainder of the funds for the estimated $24-million project.
The Little Otter Creek Watershed project began in 1990 when Caldwell County officials met with NRCS to discuss the possibility of building a rural water supply system that would offer protection from severe droughts. Thirty years later, the project sponsors’ wishes could become reality; the project is on schedule for construction to begin in Spring 2019 and the reservoir could be filled in 2020.
“Projects like this take a long time to plan and carry out,” Flores said. “It is so gratifying to get to this stage where the paperwork and engineering and land acquisition is nearing completion and actual construction is within sight. The extreme drought affecting northwestern Missouri is a good, yet unfortunate reminder that this lake is badly needed.”
At a point about two miles southeast of Hamilton, a 72-foot-tall earthen dam across Little Otter Creek will create the 344-acre lake. NRCS is assisting the Caldwell County Commission and the Caldwell County Soil and Water Conservation District on this project.
“This project couldn’t happen without the support of the citizens of Caldwell County or without the technical and financial assistance from NRCS,” Caldwell County Presiding Commissioner Bud Motsinger said. “It is rewarding to see progress toward construction of the dam. The Little Otter Creek Reservoir project will provide the citizens of Caldwell County a reliable water supply that has been lacking for decades."
NRCS’ announcement comes a week after Flores announced another $20 million for construction of the East Locust Creek Reservoir in Sullivan County. That 2,352-acre reservoir will provide water for Adair, Chariton, Grundy, Linn, Livingston, Macon, Mercer, Putnam, Schuyler and Sullivan counties. Construction of the East Locust Creek dam is expected to begin next fall, with the lake fully filled in late 2021.