WEST ALTON - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers River Project Office announced that Maple Island Access Area reopened to the public Saturday, April 15. The area was previously closed to provide a necessary staging area for work on the Melvin Price Locks and Dam.

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“We are happy to welcome our local anglers, bird-watchers, and other members of the public back to Maple Island Access,” said Katelynn Dearth, Natural Resources Specialist and Park Ranger for the Rivers Project.

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“Though the closure was necessary, we were eager to re-open this area for public access, because we know it’s an important river access point for our community. With the snagging season ending at Maple on May 15th, we’re especially happy we no longer have to turn anglers away.”

During the month of April, this location is also an important spawning site for lake sturgeon, an ancient species of fish that is listed as state endangered in both Missouri and Illinois. This species has been inadvertently caught at Maple Island Access Area before, but tends to do fine if released immediately. Anglers are asked to please report any observed spawning activity of lake sturgeon along the shoreline to the Missouri Department of Conservation at 636-300-1953 Ext 4130. This information is critical in identifying water conditions that are favorable for spawning and can assist in future management plans for the species.

Maple Island Access Area is part of the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary and is located just downstream of the Melvin Price Locks and Dam.

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