Fellows Lake marina lease goes to Watershed Committee of the Ozarks

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Fellows Lake marina lease goes to Watershed Committee of the Ozarks

City Utilities has chosen the nonprofit Watershed Committee of the Ozarks to operate  Fellows Lake Marina beginning March 1, after a new marina is built over the winter.

CU General Manager Gary Gibson informed the board of the agreement Thursday.

Since 1984, CU has had a long-running partnership with Watershed Committee of the Ozarks and provides $200,000 annually to the organization to help ensure clean water for Springfield.

Bob Wilson, CU manager of water operations, said the lease agreement also gives the Watershed group oversight of nearby Miller Park and surrounding park areas.

He said the Watershed group was selected in part because it will be able to help share the message of the need to keep Springfield water resources clean.

“The Watershed Committee has a long history of engaging in projects that help preserve water quality, and that aligned better with some of the things we’ve asked of the marina operation,” Wilson said.

The Watershed Committee plans to form a limited liability corporation to handle the lease arrangement. Wilson said that LLC will pay a lease fee of $1 a year because it is a nonprofit and will take on additional educational and conservation messaging.

Fellow Lake Marina on Wednesday, June 11, 2018.

The current lease holder pays $1,500 per year to operate the marina, Wilson said. 

Watershed executive director Mike Kromrey said he looked forward to taking on the marina and educating lake users about invasive zebra mussels and hydrilla plants, fish species, and the need to protect the area’s water. 

Fellows Lake is a major source of drinking water for Springfield. 

“We will strive to continue the customer service out there that people have come to expect,” Kromrey added. “We also want to further our mission of not only connecting people with the lake but connecting them with information and actions we have to do to keep our water clean.”

Kromrey said marina users can expect to see similar services and hours that are offered now. The marina will be open seven days a week, sunrise to sunset, from March 1 to Oct. 31.

“I love the lake and I love fishing,” Kromrey said. “It’s my home water. I look forward to running the marina.”

Kansas City angler Brad Kellerman shows the 50-inch muskie he caught several years ago on a fly rod at Fellows Lake.  Fellows is a popular fishing lake for muskellunge, bass, crappie, walleye and catfish.

The Watershed Committee of the Ozarks will pay CU a lease fee, and a share of the cost of boat permits. Along with boat rentals, Kromrey said he is considering adding bicycle rentals to take advantage of the new 6.65-mile mountain bike trail being built near the marina on CU property.

The trail is slated to open in December and joins a 2.5-mile Ozark Greenways hiking trail through the forest that’s been in place for years.

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