East Locust Creek Reservoir

Sullivan County, Missouri

The possibility of a severe water shortage has lingered for decades over 10 rural counties in north-central Missouri, but a solution is now in reach.

A combination of geology, topography, and climate have limited the supply of raw water in the region. The potential for sustained drought threatens water availability for residents while impeding the area’s economic development and growth.

Olsson is helping address the threat by working to achieve a long-term, state-supported goal of constructing the East Locust Creek Reservoir near Milan, Missouri. The North Central Missouri Regional Water Commission (NCMRWC) enlisted Olsson to help finalize the dam design and provide environmental services for the $160 million, 10-county regional water supply project.

The project will encompass 4,550 acres of land, of which 2,352 acres will be submerged. At normal pool, the reservoir will hold 54,000 acre-feet of water with capacity to provide 7 million gallons per day. The reservoir and upland acres buffering 82 miles of shoreline will also be managed for wildlife habitat, public outdoor recreation, and flood mitigation.

In addition to civil engineering, Olsson provided environmental services that have allowed NCMRWC to pursue essential state and federal permits. The project originated from an environmental impact statement (EIS) completed in 2006, so our Environmental team prepared a supplemental EIS. We also wrote applications under section 404 of the Clean Water Act as well as a section 401 drinking water permit.

In the process of completing the supplemental EIS, our team conducted surveys for protected bats, eagles, and for the federally threatened Mead’s milkweed. Our surveys also confirmed the presence of the endangered Indiana bat and the threatened northern long-eared bat and we worked with federal agencies on a biological assessment that includes conservation measures for the species. Olsson’s work led to a signed biological opinion and an easement agreement to protect 1,200 acres held by the Missouri Land Heritage Foundation.

The agencies Olsson consulted with included the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, USDA Rural Development, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Olsson will also provide engineering for a $21 million transportation infrastructure project supported by a federal BUILD grant that is administered by the Missouri Department of Transportation. The project will build, cap, or improve eight miles of paved roads and 17 miles of gravel roads. It will also construct five water crossings and pedestrian accommodations.

“We are in the last 10 miles of a 1,000-mile journey,” NCMRWC general manager Brad Scott told KTVO News.

Construction of the project is scheduled to begin in 2021.


Aaron Ball

Overland Park, Kansas


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