A small section of a trout stream in eastern Iowa’s Fayette County made history recently. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has received a permanent easement for access to a one-and-three-quarters of a mile stretch of the Otter Creek trout stream in Fayette County near Elgin. Fayette County Conservation Board director, Rod Marlatt, says the easement guarantees public access to the D-N-R stocked trout stream. He says it gives access “forever and ever and ever” and it’s the first such type of agreement in the state. Kim and Lois Dummermuth, and Dummermuth Farms, Inc. donated the e easement to the D-N-R. Marlatt says the area had flooded quite often in the 1990’s an the idea for the easement was proposed after the owners took steps to deal with the flooding.He says the landowner put the land in a government wetland reserve program so it would never be farmed again, and through that cleaned up the area and developed fish habitat for the stream. Marlatt says it seemed a natural to create an easement for the trout stream since the land was no longer going to be used for farming. He says all easements for fishing access have until now been handled via a “gentleman’s agreement,” which he says has worked pretty well. He credits the landowners with the foresight to enter into the agreement. In 2001, the D-N-R estimates there were 49-hundred anglers who wet a line in Otter Creek.Marlatt says a parking lot will be built near the stream sometime in the future, possibly as early as this spring.
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