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Bass fishermen Tim Peterson, foreground, and Josh Pesek visit Springfield’s boat basin and marina in August. A state grant recently helped pay to dredge a channel and make the basin and marina accessible again to boats. Further improvements are planned this spring. (Daily Republic file photo)

River access restored at Springfield

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outdoors Mitchell,South Dakota 57301 http://www.mitchellrepublic.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/field/image/122113.N.DR_.SPRINGFIELDBOATBASIN.JPG?itok=ECwn2ZuU
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River access restored at Springfield
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

SPRINGFIELD — Tim Peterson said Springfield has its boat basin and marina back.

Peterson, president of the Springfield Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) Association, explained dredging work to allow boats to unload and land has been completed at the southeast South Dakota recreation spot.

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Now additional plans are in the works.

“We’re really satisfied with what has been done, and as soon as weather permits we’re going to get going on some more work,” Peterson said. “The goal is to make it a very attractive place to visit.”

Earlier this month, dredging work was completed that dug 6 to 8 feet of mud out of the bottom of the bay, which at the time was less than 2 feet deep. Because of how shallow the bay was, most boats were unable to use the landing area. Now, the bay is about 9 feet deep in most places.

The state Department of Game, Fish & Parks used a $142,000 grant to dredge a 120-by-500-foot channel from the boat ramp to the outlet of the Missouri River, which in that area is called Lewis and Clark Lake. A preconstruction meeting was held Sept. 25 and dredging work was completed Dec. 5.

Shane Bertsch, district park supervisor with Yankton’s Lewis and Clark Recreation Area, said the bay was originally dredged in the late 1950s. He said siltation from the Niobrara River, which flows into the Missouri from Nebraska, over a long period of time, coupled with excessive flooding in 2011, filled in the bottom of the bay and made it too shallow for boats to use. Bertsch said the last time the bay was dredged was in the 1970s.

“After the flooding, we were down to about 18 inches of water in most of the area,” he said. “You couldn’t use the ramp in the marina.”

Bertsch said a fishing dock was pulled out of the bay in the fall of 2012. Getting the dock repaired and put back in the water will be one of the improvements this spring, he added.

Peterson said there has been about $95,000 to $105,000 of local money raised to boost the project. He explained about $50,000 of raffle tickets were sold, while the rest was brought in through private donations. The top prize for the raffle was a choice of a vacation voucher worth $3,000 or $2,500 cash.

He said further improvements that start in the spring will include shoreline restoration, cleaning out cattails and the addition of the dock. He’s hopeful the project is completed June 1.

“I never believed when we started this that we could raise this much money,” Peterson said. “The small-town people really pulled together.”

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