U.S. Army Corps of Engineers looking for volunteers for fish habitat project

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 4:39 PM CDT
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RALLS COUNTY, Mo. (WGEM) - The Army Corps of Engineers is looking for volunteers to help with a fish habitat project at Mark Twain Lake.

Running into its third year, the fish habitat project involves the building of shelter cubes and sinking them into different parts of the lake.

The cubes are made with PVC pipes and tubing.

The corps had previously used natural objects for fish habitats like Christmas trees. However, when lake levels fell, the wood rotted out and the habitat fell apart quickly.

The cubes act as shelters which helps younger fish to hide from predators and survive, allowing them to grow larger.

Natural Resources Specialist Aaron Eckelkamp said the project process occurs in three phases, beginning with cube assembly at 8 a.m on Saturday.

“We shoot to assemble 100 of these cubes. What we’ll have is an assembly line going from start to finish. So, we’ll have these products already ready to go and all we need is hands to help with the event,” said Eckelkamp.

He said the assembly will take place inside a maintenance facility at the Frank Russell Recreation Area. The assembly line process was moved inside due to the cold forecast Saturday morning.

Eckelkamp said building these habitats is important to help keep the fish population healthy and strong.

“Locally we have a big interest, and this area draws in a lot of attention for fisherman, along with our campers of course, but we want to keep that interest there and keep the fisheries in Mark Twain Lake healthy and sustainable for the future,” said Eckelkamp.

The next phase in the process will be March 31, when the cubes are moved from the Frank Russell Recreation Area to the Indian Creek West Boat Ramp.

The cubes will be sunk in the Sandy Creek area of the lake the next day.

He said volunteers would also be welcome to help transport the cubes to the Indian Creek West Boat Ramp, and volunteers with boats can help sink the cubes at 9 a.m. on April 1.

Those who would like to volunteer can sign up or get more information by emailing Aaron Eckelkamp at Aaron.G.Eckelkamp@usace.army.mil or by calling the Mark Twain Lake Project Office at 573-735-4097.

More information about the project can also be found at the Mark Twain Lake - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Facebook page.

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