Bennett Spring Construction Updates

Crane placing steel beams along Bennett Spring

Construction is underway on this multi-year, $40 million renovation of the Missouri Department of Conservation hatchery at Bennett Spring State Park. This project includes a new intake structure, reconstruction of the raceways, a new office, water quality improvements, and other upgrades and refurbishments that will improve fish production and site resiliency. Cahills Construction of Rolla is the contractor on this project.

Even with construction, anglers are still reeling in trout at the park. MDC staff continue to stock the stream several times each week for excellent fishing even while construction is in full swing. A big reason fishing and construction have been co-existing at Bennett Spring this summer is because of the connectivity of MDC’s cold-water hatchery system. Bennett Spring Hatchery normally produces up to 450,000 trout annually from egg to fingerling size and stocks 325,000 in the park’s waters each year. The reason there are still trout to catch at Bennett Spring – despite the reduction in fish production at the hatchery with construction – is that MDC’s other cold-water hatcheries in the state have picked up the slack. The bulk of the trout for this summer’s fishing has come from MDC’s Montauk Hatchery (Dent County), from MDC’s Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery (Taney County), and from privately-owned hatcheries.

Questions & Answers

What is the timeline on the construction and when will it be done?

The Bennett Spring project is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2025.

Why does it look like there is nobody working on site and nothing is getting done and the office building is not finished?

This is a large and complex project. The contractor is working on many facets of the project at once, so while one area may look slow in progress, work is progressing in other areas.

How hard can it be to finish a roof? Are they ever going to get done with it?

The Administration building at Bennett Spring is only part of the overall project. The contractor is working to complete that portion of the larger project.

What is happening up by the park entrance behind the blue gate?

Part of the project is construction of a bulk feed tower at Bennett Spring. This will allow the Department to receive large feed deliveries and staff will not have to handle small bags of feed each day. The footprint of the hatchery in the park is very compact and this location allows for easy access by hatchery staff and a more convenient location for deliveries.

Why are the temporary pumps being removed?

After working with the Contractor to pump water to hold fish at Bennett during the construction project, it became apparent the pumping added complexity to the project and diverted the Contractor’s staffing from construction work. By removing the pumping operation, the Contractor is better able to focus all of their efforts on completing the construction work.


How will we continue to provide a fishing opportunity?

Hatchery staff will haul fish from Montauk and Shepherd of the Hills and stock directly into the spring branch multiple times during the week. Stocking will occur after the siren ends fishing for the day.

Where are fish coming from and why are you trucking them in?

The goal at Bennett Spring was to operate as close to normal as possible so anglers would see minimal disruption to their angling experience during the construction project. Hatchery staff are currently hauling fish from Montauk or Shepherd of the Hills and fish are being stocked directly into the spring branch at some point after the siren ending fishing for the day.

How are you stocking if there is no water in the hatchery to hold fish / why don’t you have fish in the hatchery runs?

Fish are being brought in from Shepherd of the Hills and Montauk hatcheries. Stocking is taking place two or three times per week, dependent upon number of anglers. All zones are being stocked after the evening siren. Fish are being spread evenly throughout the park and all fishing zones. A major component of this project is to repair the intake to the facility. In order to do that work, all water coming into the hatchery has been diverted and that is why there is no water in that hatchery pools.

Have you and how much have you reduced the stocking rate since you are not stocking nightly?

The goal for stocking efforts in all four trout parks for the 2024 season is 1.8 fish/tag sold. Hatchery staff plan estimated visitation off of historical tag sales, anticipated weather, etc., to estimate the number of fish needed for the week. We are not stocking nightly but the number of fish being stocked into the park each week would be the same as totals from planned nightly stockings.

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