Mailing Address:
Wappapello Lake Project Office
10992 Highway T
Wappapello, MO 63966-9603

Project Office: (573) 222-8562
Visitor Assistance: (573) 778-5404
24-Hour Info Hotline: (573) 222-2139
Toll-Free: 877-LAKEINFO

Camping Reservation:

Visitor Center Hours:
March to Memorial Day:
Sat & Sun Hours 10:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Memorial to Labor Day:
Sun - Thurs: 10:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Fri & Sat: 10:00 - 5:30 p.m.


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Natural Resources Management

Wappapello Lake is one of over 400 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects located across the United States. This 44,000 acre project offers the public a wide variety of outdoor recreation activities while still serving its purpose as a public-owned flood risk management reservoir within the St. Francis River Basin. Currently, lake staff manages a variety of habitation across 36,000 acres of land while the remaining 8,000 acres are covered by lake waters. Approximately 3,000 of those acres are utilized for open land management such as row crops and food plot plantings, successional mowing and discing, prescribed burning and managed wetlands. The remaining 32,000 acres are forested areas that highlight the unique hunting and hiking experience of the Ozark Region. Natural Resources management personnel have recently implemented a timber management program with goals of improving the reservoir watershed habitats through best management practices that reduce erosion, regenerate forests and promote forest tree and shrub species that benefit wildlife.

Natural Resources Management

 Timber Management Benefits

One of the many benefits of timber management will be the correction of poor management practices following the massive logging operations in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This means the even aged forests of declining hardwoods will be replaced with sustainable uneven aged stands of mixed native tree species allowing for current and future wildlife use. The incorporated timber management program will provide several long-term benefits for the wildlife in the area. By eliminating competition from suppressed oaks and hickories and removing undesirable and over mature tree species in the area, valuable mast production can be improved significantly for wildlife populations. These timber stand improvement (TSI) activities will allow well producing oaks to be a dominant part of the forest canopy. The downed tree tops left after a timber harvest also have significant benefits for area wildlife. The resulting brushy areas offer great cover and nesting opportunities for a variety of birds, turkey, deer and den animals.

 Endangered Bat Species


Wappapello Lake is the host of many bat species. Some of these species are threatened or endangered.  To better facilitate the needs of the endangered Indiana bat, gray bat, and the threatened northern long-eared bat is in our area, the Corps of Engineers work in partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to monitor and protect these bats. As part of this effort, the agencies spend two weeks in early summer trapping for bat species across the project lands. The agencies collaborate and determine locations that would be ideal for the bat species. Once these areas have been selected, multiple mist nets are set up at each location and bats are humanly captured, identified, measured, catalogued and then promptly released uninjured. If an Indiana bat, gray bat, or northern long-eared bat is successfully captured a telemetry transmitter may be attached for further tracking. The transmitter usually lasts for about a week and will be used to track bats back to their daytime roosting location. Researchers are better able to understand, monitor and hopefully help protect each species through these efforts.




 Youth and Mobility Impaired Outdoor Activities

The improved habitat will benefit our partnerships with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF)Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and other agencies. In cooperation with these partners, we host three annual events that include activities to foster the love of outdoors in people.

  1. Youth Turkey Hunt This NWTF sponsored event provides up and coming hunters with opportunities to participate in a spring turkey hunt. The USACE provides locations and personnel to assist with the event. Ten selected youth spend the weekend at SEMO youth camp and are taken out by volunteers and USACE employees who guide for the young hunters. This experience gives youth the opportunity to get out in the woods, learn safe hunting practices and make lasting memories.
  2. The Mobility Impaired Deer Hunt Prior to the November firearm Deer Season opening, 25 hunters with mobility impairments are given the opportunity to go out and try to harvest a deer. The hunters meet and camp together for the weekend and enjoy good food and good camaraderie.  This event is held in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Wild Turkey Federation, Wake Foundation, Missouri Department of Conservation and local volunteers.  The application process will begin on August 1. If you received an application last year you will receive one this year as well.

    2023 Mobility Impaired Deer Hunt Application 

For more information on these special activities, please contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wappapello Lake Project Office at 573-222-8562.

 Invasive Species

Emerald Ash Borer

The Corps of Engineers, Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the US Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service ( USDA APHIS) team have been working together to combat and stop the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) since it was first discovered in the lake area in 2008.. The EAB only consume ash trees and live out their entire life cycle within this species. The timber program will reduce the overall ash tree population in Wappapello Forests, by reducing the number of ash trees in our forests we can help fight the spread of the EAB.   



Feral Hogs

Feral hogs are an invasive species, brought here illegally and have no benefit for Missouri wildlife or the landscape.  The Corps, MDC, USDA APHIS, and the USFS have been working together to formulate a plan to eliminate the Feral Hog Population.   If left unchecked feral hogs will cause widespread damage to Missouri wildlife, agriculture, and natural resources. Feral hogs cause damage to forested areas in several ways. Acorns, beechnut and other hard masts are a favorite food for these opportunistic consumers; by eating these seeds few are available for regeneration purposes .  Feral hogs also use saplings and even mature trees of both pines and hardwoods as scratching and scent marking posts. The intense rubbing can damage bark layers, leaving the tree susceptible to harmful insects and pathogens. Their rooting and wallowing are destructive to sensitive natural areas such as glades, fens and springs. The rooting and feeding behavior of feral hogs also contributes to soil erosion and reduces water quality. The improved forest health and open corridors created through the timber program will aid the Corps and its partner’s efforts by better detection and easier trapping opportunities.  Hog hunting is not allowed on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wappapello Lake. 

FERAL HOG FAQ 11-14-17_.pdf




Many plants non-native to Missouri have a home at Wappapello Lake.  The staff work diligently to try and remove species such as Johnson Grass and Sericia Lespedeza from its landscape.   Woody plants like Autumn Olive are found throughout the area and are very challenging to remove.  Practices such as successional mowing and food plots help to keep invasive species at bay in our open lands areas.  Prescribed burns also promote successional control.






 Native Species Restoration

Ozark Chinquapin chestnut


At one time, the Ozark Chinquapin was a staple of in both the Wappapello and Southern Missouri forests. However, due to poor management and the introduction of the Chestnut blight in our area, this majestic tree is a very rare sight. In the spring of 2012, the Natural Resources department received five seeds from The Ozark Chinquapin Foundation to plant on Corps property. Unfortunately, probably due to the unusual drought conditions during the summer of 2012, none of the initial trees survived. Seven more seeds were planted in the same location during February 2013. As of November 2013, four seedlings had sprouted and have reached a height of six inches or higher.


American chestnut


The American chestnut population was severally hurt by the chestnut blight and efforts have been made to restore it to our forest through a hybrid breeding program using the blight resistant Chinese chestnut species. The breeding programs objectives are to transfer blight resistance while maintaining the American chestnuts desirable characteristics. This is done through generational back breeding resulting in a 15/16th American chestnut seed. Wappapello Lake received a significant number of American 15/16th Chestnut seeds at the same time we received the second set of Chinquapin seeds. We currently have 10 seeds planted on an open area loading decks created by the timber programs operations as part of the reforestation efforts. There are an additional 32 seeds planted in additional open forest areas on Corps property as well. In addition, there are 65 seeds planted in nursery conditions with the intention of planting any viable seedlings in areas to be reforested. These trees will help promote a more diverse native tree population in Wappapello Corps forests.

The newly implemented timber management program reflects the Wappapello Corps of Engineers Lake management’s commitment and desire to promote and maintain the area’s natural resources through good stewardship practices. This is only one example of the Natural Resources Department’s many programs used to promote our resources and public outdoor recreation activities.

 Missouri State Record Trees at Wappapello Lake
 Duck Blind Drawing

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Wappapello Lake host the annual duck blind drawing and registration the 3rd Saturday in August, at 9 a.m. at the Bill Emerson Memorial Visitors Center. Anyone wishing to participate must be registered prior to 9 a.m. If you are not signed up by 9 a.m., you will be required to wait until the drawing and placement process has concluded. Upon conclusion of the placement process, late arrivers will be allowed to register and choose a location. Blinds are provided by the applicant and must meet the Wappapello Lake Shoreline Management Plan “Minimum Standards for Floating Duck Blinds” and “Shoreline Use Permit Conditions.” The registration fee is $15 and applicants must bring cash in the exact amount or a personal check or money order made payable to “FAO, USACE, St. Louis District.”

Please see links below for application form, Minimum Standards for Floating Duck Blinds, Shoreline Use Permit Standards and refuge/no hunting zone maps.

Permitted duck blinds may be placed on the lake after Labor Day and must be removed from the lake, or transferred to a permitted storage cove, within two weeks of the closure of the zoned duck season. There is an additional $50 storage fee for blinds stored in the storage cove.  If you are interested in registering a duck blind and cannot attend the drawing, please contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wappapello Lake Management Office, at (573) 222-8562, after the August draw date. Applications for registering a duck blind will end close of business the 3rd Friday in October.

Application for Shoreline Use Permit

Shoreline Use Permit Standards

Minimum Standards for Floating Duck Blinds

Waterfowl Refuge/No Hunting Zone Maps