Fulton, MDC renew lake maintenance agreement

A fish creates a big splash at the surface of the lake before sundown Monday, November 2, 2015, at Veterans Park in Fulton.

Fulton and the Missouri Department of Conservation will continue to share responsibilities for three lakes the city owns.

The two entered into an agreement in April 2010 for the two entities to split care for Morningside Lake, Truman Lake and Veterans Park Lake. The city council recently approved an extension of the agreement.

Through the agreement, the city takes care of day-to-day operations around each lake while the MDC enforces regulations around fishing and studies the lakes.

Additionally, the two split costs for the annual stocking of trout in Veterans Park Lake for winter fishing.

Per the agreement, the city allows free public access for fishing and recreational activities, maintain the area around the lake and boat ramp, care for any facilities, police the area and manage the watersheds at each lake.

The city also complies with local, state and federal laws, prohibits fish stocking that isn't within the MDC's management plan and recognize the MDC in advertising and brochures.

Meanwhile, the MDC provides a general management plan for each lake, periodically survey the fish populations, enact and enforce fishing regulations, and maintain signage around the lake.

The MDC also manages the trout stocking of Veterans Park Lake annually.

Parks and Recreation Director Clay Caswell said the agreement has been beneficial for the city.

"Last couple years, we've had problems with duckweed, which is that green film that gets all over Veterans Lake," he said. "They've done some things, made some changes to help us and given us a lot of guidance on that."

He said the winter trout stocking has been very popular over the last few years.

As part of updating the agreement, officials pulled out the original deeds that give the city ownership over the three lakes.

Westminster College previously owned Truman Lake, Margaret Herring donated Morningside Lake to the city in 2006 and the Missouri School for the Deaf previously owned Veterans Park Lake.

Ward 1 Councilman Ballard Simmons asked whether the MDC would include Stinson Creek in the agreement. The city's currently in discussions with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources over potential measures to reduce contamination of Stinson Creek.

Interim Director of Administration Darrell Dunlap said the creek isn't included because the city doesn't own the creek, but the MDC staff would work with the city on any improvements being discussed for it.

"These same folks we partner with on this agreement have been here several times talking to the engineering department, talking to the stream team, giving us some guidance on what to do to make Stinson Creek better," Caswell said. "While Stinson Creek isn't included in this agreement, they're more than willing to help us with some of the issues that we have."