Contractor bidding process to begin this Fall in preparation to construct Little Otter Creek Lake in Caldwell County

Little Otter Creek Reservoir graphic

A contractor bidding process is to begin this fall to prepare for the construction of a 344-acre multipurpose reservoir in Caldwell County. This comes after all agencies involved approved the Little Otter Creek Lake to move forward to begin construction after nearly 25 years of planning, design, reviews, and permitting.

The primary purpose of the lake is to provide a source of drinking water to communities in Caldwell County and the surrounding area. The secondary purpose is to provide flood control and recreational opportunities, such as fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, biking, and viewing nature.

Construction plans have been completed and approved. The land for the Little Otter Creek Lake has been acquired. It is to be located about three miles east of Hamilton on the south side of U. S. Highway 36.

A news release notes the lake will be the first water supply lake the Corps of Engineers has approved in more than 25 years in Missouri. Mozingo Lake in Nodaway County was the last community lake to be approved, and it was built in the 1990s.

The federal government has committed more than $16,000,000 and more than $5,500,000 from the state and local government toward the Little Otter Creek Lake project. Caldwell County residents passed a half-cent county sales tax in 2004 for the lake and have contributed more than $4,000,000 of local tax money so far. Most of the funds have been used for land acquisition, surveys, permitting, and other preliminary activities. The state has also provided financial support and assistance from the Department of Natural Resources and other state agencies.

Plans involve starting land clearing of the pool area this winter and beginning construction of the dam and reservoir next summer. As part of the permit approval and lake construction, five low water crossings will be removed and replaced with span structure bridges as part of the mitigation requirements. Other mitigation requirements include purchasing stream credits and wetland credits along with riparian plantings on some of the county-owned lake property. Clearing and construction are estimated to take about two years. It may take up to two years for the lake to fill based on average rainfall.

Additional plans are being developed in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation and other agencies for future land use and recreational opportunities around the Little Otter Creek Lake.