CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the City of Dexter joined forces during the past summer to install a new well at the north end of Dexter City Lake, following a decision that the previous well -- located at the south end of the lake -- could not be repaired.
In 1993, the first Community Assistance Program (CAP) agreement was signed, which included the construction of a parking area, fishing jetty, and disabled accessible floating fishing dock at the 11-acre lake located near a residential area that receives “considerable fishing pressure,” according to MDC Fisheries Programs Supervisor Laura Ruman. MDC also became involved in the installation of an aeration system as part of a CAP agreement in 2013, she said.
Ruman said without replacing the well, water levels in the lake would have dropped, “and it may have resulted in a die-off of the fishery.”
The CAP program provides close-to-home fishing opportunities in communities throughout the state of Missouri. Through this program, MDC enters into typically 25-year agreements with cities, counties, state and federal agencies, businesses, foundations, schools and colleges to provide fisheries management at existing lakes and ponds. It also serves to cooperatively develop facilities for anglers and boaters at lake and stream areas.
According to MDC Fisheries Management Biologist Mike Reed, the lake has no runoff from any water source to help maintain its water level. “The water pump is vital to the lake and the wildlife that inhabit it,” he said.
“The lake maintains an excellent channel catfish fishery and good fisheries of largemouth bass and sunfish,” Ruman added. “The lake is shallow and cannot maintain its lake level through the summer without a water well.”
Through the CAP program, MDC provided a cash grant to the City of Dexter for reimbursement of costs associated with replacement of the pump, which totaled $49,500. The total cost of the project sits at roughly $66,000 – leaving the remaining $16,500 for the city.
“MDC was pleased to be able to provide a cash grant for the project so that the lake’s robust fishery could remain viable,” Ruman said.
Reed said the lake is great for kids and families “to be able to get to a nice fishing experience fairly quickly.”
Dexter City Lake is open Sunday to Saturday, from 4 a.m. – 10 p.m.