Scout coordinates donation of 200 fish habitat structures for Little River CA

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KENNETT, Mo. – A St. Louis scout, Maddy Agers, coordinated the construction and placement of 200 fish habitat structures as a donation to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC). The project was a surprise to Salvador Mondragon, a Missouri Department of Conservation fisheries management biologist, who worked with Agers. Although it wasn’t the first time Mondragon worked with a scout who wanted to do a conservation project, it was the magnitude of the project that surprised him.

“Projects like this are always very helpful; the scouts will usually build anywhere from 12 to 20 fish structures for us and that’s great,” he said. “When I heard she wanted to build 200 structures, I had to find a place big enough where we could use that many.”

Agers joined Venturing, a co-ed branch of the Boy Scouts of America in 2014 and began to work toward the Summit Award, which is comparable to the rank of Eagle Scout.

“Throughout my time in the last three years, I have learned more about leadership and adventure than I ever thought possible,” Agers said. “I wanted to accomplish the Hornaday Award, which focuses on conservation.”

One of Agers’ leaders, Michael Brand, taught her how to make spider-block fish habitats, consisting of a concrete block filled partly with concrete, with secured plastic tubing coming out of the top. Brand explained the need for habitats due to issues with fish recruitment. Agers realized fish habitat would help a lot of people who enjoy fishing, and she remembered going fishing with her grandfather.

“It can really take the fun out of fishing if there aren’t any fish to catch,” Agers said. “I decided to put my determination toward that cause and I wanted to do 200 fish structures.”

Mondragon had to find a lake that needed the structures and that was large enough to hold them all. He settled on Jerry P. Combs Lake at Little River Conservation Area.

“At Combs Lake it tends to be a little difficult to introduce woody fish habitat due to lack of trees in the area,” Mondragon said. “I knew these structures would work great in this lake because it would provide much needed habitat for fish. These artificial structures also last for a long time, whereas fish habitat created from Christmas trees usually deteriorate within a couple of years.”

Mondragon said cedars can last anywhere from five to eight years and hardwoods need to be replaced in eight to ten years. Artificial structures can last up to 60 years. Mondragon also coordinated a donation of the poly-tubing needed for the project, which kept costs down for Agers’ project.  Agers used crowd funding and coordinated a team of 35 people to help build the 200 structures.

“I am very appreciative of the work that Maddy has done, and I’m sure the anglers who fish the lake will also be appreciative,” Mondragon said.

“I am proud of myself and those around me for accomplishing so much,” Agers said.

Little River Conservation Area is in Dunklin and Pemiscot counties, five miles east of Kennett on Highway 412. Find more places to fish at