The process of building a major reservoir is both long and complex. In response to the lessons learned about the impacts of such a project on the environment and rural communities, the regulatory complexity has increased significantly in an effort to minimize negative impacts. This added regulatory oversite has a significant impact on the project timeline in terms of overall length of time required and uncertainty in the amount of time still needed to complete the project.

The East Locust Creek Watershed Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA) was signed by the project Sponsors and the USDA-Soil Conservation Service (SCS). This initial version recommended 120 small floodwater retarding dams and 1 large floodwater retarding dam on Little East Locust Creek. Sponsors included Locust Creek Watershed District, Sullivan County Soil & Water Conservation District, Putnam County Soil & Water Conservation District, Sullivan County Commission, and Putnam County Commission.

“Preliminary Engineering Report for North Central Missouri Regional Water Supply” (Rhodes Engineering Company, Inc. , 1995) presented a brief review of sources in the North Central Missouri Region and recommended construction of a water supply reservoir on East Locust Creek.

Green City, City of Milan, and Sullivan County Public Water Supply District #1 formed a regional wholesale water cooperative, the North Central Missouri Regional Water Commission (NCMRWC), to secure adequate water resources to serve the region.

The NCMRWC received a HUD Special Projects Grant to facilitate planning of a regional reservoir. Burns and McDonnell, an engineering firm, was asked to prepare a feasibility study and master plan for a regional project. These reports confirmed the location of the reservoir on East Locust Creek and sized it at 1,600 acres to provide 5.75 MGD of water for the NCMRWC.

MDNR produces report, “Water Use Study of North Central Missouri Regional Water Commission”, indicating the need to increase the size of ELCR to provide water for the 10 county region.

Federal legislation is passed allowing the proposed ELCR to be built under the NRCS PL-566 program even though its size is larger than is typically allowed under that program.

EPA publishes a statement in the federal register indicating that they have no objections with the proposed ELCR project.

NCMRWC purchases the water treatment facility from the City of Milan.

NRCS completes the “East Locust Creek Watershed Revised Plan & Environmental Impact Statement” which confirmed the location of the East Locust Creek Reservoir but increased the size to 2,235 acres to provide a firm yield of 7.0 MGD to meet the need for a new source that could provide a reliable source for the region as recommended by the 2004 MDNR report. The watershed agreement also provided the federal share of funding for land acquisition and the first stages of reservoir design.

Acquired the first 176 acres of land for the dam site.

Voters of Sullivan County pass a 1/2 percent sales tax (with 81.25% in favor) to support land acquisition for the East Locust Creek Reservoir.

Established Land Acquisition Selection Policy that reduced the land acquisition target footprint from 5,800 acres to 4,300 acres to reduce acquisition costs and increase the value of remaining private property.

First appropriation of funds to NCMRWC received.

Added a $1/1000 gallon rate increase for customers of NCMRWC to fund land acquisition.

Lake Authority Legislation signed by Governor Nixon, providing for formation of a Lake Authority to oversee the operation of the reservoir and granting the Lake Authority the power to form Tax Increment Finance districts and to regulate activities in the watershed upstream of the reservoir. East Locust Creek Reservoir will be the only reservoir in the state with this authority.

Secured $10 million in bond financing for land acquisition.

1,866 Acres of land acquired on 18 different parcels.

Lower Grand Watershed, including the ELCR Watershed, was listed as one of three pilot watersheds in the State’s “Our Missouri Waters” program.

430 Acres of land acquired on 21 different parcels.

MDNR approves the “Engineering Report for Water System Improvements for North Central Missouri Regional Water Commission”. A summary of conclusions can be found here.

MDNR and COE complete the “North Central Missouri Locust Creek Watershed Study Final Report” evaluating the conditions in the Locust Creek Watershed. An analysis of how the findings of that report overlap with the ELCR project can be found here.

Phases 1 through 4 of Dam design (Geotech Investigation) complete, relocates the dam 150’ upstream to make use of better geological conditions. Validates earlier studies that sized and sited the reservoir. Results in a detailed Geotech Report and an Evaluation and Selection Report, URS, January 2014.

795 Acres of land acquired on 22 different parcels.

State of Missouri provides $4 million for land acquisition.

Additional federal funding for permitting and design ($2.5 Million).

826 Acres of land acquired on 19 different parcels.

Updated Preliminary Engineering Report published.

State of Missouri provides $1 million for land acquisition.

MDNR provides an updated Economic Impact Analysis indicating that the ELCR project will create 1,144 new jobs and bring an economic benefit of $118.5 million dollars.

MDNR Publishes a Water Rate Analysis showing that the residents of North Central Missouri pay a higher percentage of their income for drinking water than the rest of the state.

NRCS provides an additional $1.9 million for planning design and lake bed preparation and $650,000 for land acquisition.

EPA provides $934,761 in environmental assessments and funding for asbestos and household hazardous waste cleanup through their Targeted Brownfields Assessment and Brownfield Cleanup Grant programs.

315 Acres of land acquired and under contract on 12 different parcels.

State of Missouri provides $1.7 million for land acquisition and local match on lake bed cleanup activities.

State of Missouri appropriates $1 for the Multipurpose Water Resource Fund to allow MDNR to begin developing the rules for its use.

MDNR and COE complete a “North Central Missouri Water Supply Reliability Study – 2016 Final Report” characterizing the status of select suppliers in the region.

Forest and Field Inventory Report completed, describing the forests and fields within the proposed reservoir property boundary in terms of ecological value and timber value.

NCMRWC selects local contractors to assist with cleanup of lake bed and begins removing asbestos and household hazardous waste, demolishing buildings.

MDNR provides $53,250 for development of a source water protection plan.

Land Acquisition for the Lake Bed is Complete