Asher Creek 319 Project
DNR ANNOUNCES AWARD TO THE GREENE COUNTY SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT FOR THE ASHER CREEK WATERSHED 319 PROJECT
JEFFERSON CITY, MO., February 1st, 2012 - The Missouri Department of Natural Resources (the department) has granted an award of $134,186 to the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District (District) for the Asher Creek Watershed 319 Project. Partial funding is provided by a Section 319 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region VII, through the department.
One of the main objectives of the project is to reduce the nutrient and bacteria load deposited into the Asher Creek Watershed, a sub-watershed of the Little Sac River located in North Western Greene County and South Western Polk County. To achieve this goal the District will work with landowners in the watershed to implement a cost-share program to assist in the installation of best management practices (BMPs). BMPs offered will include riparian buffers, pasture and hayland soil pH correction and planned grazing systems. In addition, the District will work with the Ozarks Environmental and Water Resources Institute at Missouri State University and the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks to collect and analyze water samples from Asher Creek to determine the level of impairment in the watershed.
The project area was selected because it was identified from earlier water quality data as a targeted watershed in the Upper Little Sac River Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan completed in 2009. This plan addresses both point and nonpoint sources of pollution within the upper portion of the Little Sac River watershed. Additional information will be distributed to local landowners in the form of newsletters, post cards, signs, flyers, field days and/or similar project activities.
Partners for the project include: Greene County NRCS, Missouri State University and the Ozarks Environmental Resources Institute (OEWRI) and the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks.
Final Reports for the Asher Creek 319 Project
Pearson Creek Watershed
AgNPS SALT Project Final Report
Watershed Description and Location: The Pearson creek watershed is a sub-watershed of the James River (White River Basin) and located in the Springfield Plateau region of the Ozarks. Pearson creek is included in the 987 square mile TMDL for the James River. The Pearson creek headwaters begin in the eastern part of Greene County about 6 miles east of Springfield. It flows in a southwesterly direction for about 10 miles before emptying into the James River just above the Springfield municipal drinking water intake and Lake Springfield. The 10 miles of Pearson Creek drain just part of the 46,368 acre watershed that includes 11 miles of the James River as well as 8 miles of Turner creek and 5 miles of Galloway Creek. The northern and eastern portions of the watershed are primarily agricultural lands. Agricultural activities include dairy farming and pasturing beef cattle as well as a large number of horses. The western and southern portions of the watershed consist primarily of urban development, located on the eastern edge of Springfield, Missouri.
Reason for focusing on this watershed: Pearson Creek is on the 2004 303(d) list for unknown toxicity and the 2007 303d list for Bacteria. The primary evidence of impairment in Pearson Creek comes from long term monitoring by biologists with the city’s drinking water provider, City Utilities of Springfield. Their data shows a significant reduction in the number of aquatic invertebrate species (like crayfish and water insects) between the 1960s and the 1990s. To try and identify the unknown toxicity and its source(s), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed a water quality study of the Springfield urban area in 2000. This study focused on heavy metal and organic toxicants in normal and stormwater flows in Wilsons and Pearson creeks. It revealed the presence of many potentially toxic chemicals. The soil and Water Conservation District considered several other watersheds in Greene County when deciding to apply for this AgNPS SALT grant. The District board looked at many factors such as past water quality problems, amount of agriculture ongoing in the watershed as well as past participation in the watershed. The Pearson creek watershed of the James River has had the longest history of water quality problems of those considered. Additionally there have been no major grant projects or remediation efforts targeting agricultural runoff specific to this watershed. Because of these reasons the SWCD Board felt that Pearson Creek watershed was the best choice for an AgNPS SALT project in Greene County.
SALT and Partners involved: The Greene County SWCD partnered with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the James River Basin Partnership, the Greene County University of Missouri Extension Center, the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, City Utilities of Springfield and the Greene County Resource Management Office on this project.
|Practice/Resource Concern||Units Completed|
|Seeding Practices||448.2 acres|
|Grazing Management||492.9 acres|
|Information/Education (field days, workshops, stream teams, newsletters)||34 events|
|Riparian Areas (Buffers, Stream Protection and Exclusion)||132.95 acres|
|Groundwater Protection (spring development, well decommissioning)||2 well decommissionings|
|Nutrient & Pest Management||1603.3 acres|
Total Acres Affected Within Each Resource Concern: The Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District completed 448.5 acres of Seeding Practices; 492.9 acres of Grazing Management; 132.95 acres of Riparian Area protection; 2 Well Decommissioning projects and 1603.3 acres of Nutrient and Pest Management.
Information/Education Activities: Greene County SWCD conducted 22 field days, tours and meetings. Additionally, 12 newsletters and mailings were provided to the local citizens in order to update them on the progress of the project.
Summary: Participation in this watershed was not as great as was hoped for at the start of the project. One major impediment to this project was the high level of urbanization going on in the watershed. Close proximity to Springfield and changing land uses within the watershed made locating landowners willing to participate a challenge. Any future projects in the watershed should consider practices more applicable to an urbanized watershed such as filter strips, streambank stabilization and retention basins. Still, success was had in Nutrient and Pest Management as well as Riparian Protection and excluding livestock from streams. The landowners that did participate are some of the most prominate producers in the watershed. Their participation has served as an example to more reluctant producers in the area that these BMP’s do work and are beneficial from both a production and a water quality standpoint. These practices will serve as demonstration sites for future field days and tours in the hopes that more landowners will be willing to install these BMP’s. Though the Pearson Creek AgNPS SALT project has ended, county wide special practices mean that the Greene SWCD will continue to work to protect the water quality in this vital watershed for years to come. This Project has been a good start. More can and will be done in this area.
The Fellows/McDaniel - Fulbright 319 Project
The Fellows/McDaniel – Fulbright 319 Watershed Project ended Feb. 15, 2010. This project started in February 2007 and was extremely successful. Over the last three years, the 319 Project has helped repair 15 failing septic systems, pumped out 64 septic tanks and written and delivered lawn nutrient plans to 50 homeowners. The project worked with agricultural producers as well. Four grazing systems were completed as well as 33 acres of livestock exclusion and seven acres of riparian forest buffers.
As part of this 319 grant, a Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan was developed with the help of the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks and local citizens in the area. This plan is an attempt to identify all of the major sources of impairment in the watershed and to develop long-term solutions to those problems that are both supported by the public and feasible. It is intended that this plan can be used as a guide to identify future research needs as well as a basis for future grant projects in the area.
If you are interested about this project and want to know more, give us a call at 417-831-5246.