Recently Completed Projects
Southwest Missouri Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP)
The Watershed Committee of the Ozarks has been awarded funds through the Southwest Missouri Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP**). The goal of this project is to improve and protect water quality while enhancing economic development for municipalities, agriculture, and tourism. This is a multi-faceted project involving several organizations, each focusing on a different water quality issue. Under this umbrella, the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks (WCO) is currently working with the Table Rock Water Quality Incorporated (TRLWQ) to demonstrate the remediation of onsite wastewater treatment systems that have failed and pose a threat to contaminating ground water. Many conventional septic systems installed in the past have been shown through scientific studies to be inadequate for many locations throughout Southwest Missouri and can negatively impact the quality of groundwater, and ultimately drinking water.
In order to demonstrate the remediation of failing systems, this project will provide design and installation services of an alternative wastewater treatment system for up to twenty homes in targeted areas to replace existing failing onsite wastewater systems.
The Watershed Committee of the Ozarks has the right to accept or reject applications.
** The Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) will identify and address major water quality challenges facing Table Rock Lake, James River, Sac River, Spring River, and the Elk River water protection efforts. Missouri Senator Kit Bond has pledged to improve water resources throughout the region. The Environmental Resources Coalition (ERC) is administering the Water Quality Improvement Project. The ERC is a non-profit group that provides research and technical assistance to a wide variety of stakeholders concerned with water quality issues, regulations and protection efforts. For more information, contact Betty Wyse at 573.634.7078 or Stacey Armstrong 417.866.1127
Community On-Site Wastewater and Stormwater Project
Project Description: The WCO will work with their partners to establish a training facility at the Parks Eqestrian Site. This facility will showcase several alternative onsite septic systems, as well as innovative stormwater techniques. An education site will provide the community with a hands-on demonstration of karst features, wells and aquifers. Community outreach projects will include workshops, onsite rehabilitation and on-site coupons that will cost-share for maintenance. Incentives will be usesd to increase stormwater best management practices. Project Completed August 2008
1. To provide a training facility in the Springfield area that will accomodate at least 200 installer/inspectors in a 3-year period; develop a demonstration site; provide enhanced curriculum with CE credits; and encourage correct installation, maintenance and inspeciton of on-site septic systems.
2. To prevent potential NPS pollutants from entering groundwater by educating residents about failing and un-maintained septic systems, the rehabilitation of at least one failing stystem; field days, press coverage, and mainenance cost-share for 100 local on-site systems.
3. To increase the use of stormwater management techniques in the Springfield area by creating a stormwater demonstration area; monitoring the cost and effectiveness of three alternative systems; providing training to contractors, developers and engineers; and providing cost-share or incentives to encourage participation.
4. To protect groundwater from NPS pollution in the Springfield plateau through the developemnt of a groundwater demonstration area, and groundwater workshops targeting well-drillers, homeowners, and students.
Project Sponsor Watershed Committee of the Ozarks Cooperating Agencies City of Springfield, Greene County, County Health and City Utilities
Contact: Mike Kromrey, Education Outreach Coordinator 417-866-1127
Watershed Management Planning Grant
Watershed Characteristics-Little Sac River
Project Location, Size and Geographical Area
The Little Sac River begins at the north edge of Springfield and Strafford to form Fellows and McDaniel Lakes. On its journey north into Stockton Lake, the Little Sac’s 41.5 mile channel gains flow through springs and its major tributaries; Slagle Creek, North Dry Sac, South Dry Sac and Asher Creek. The 390 square mile watershed encompasses the towns of Willard, Walnut Grove, and Morrisville. The watershed changes from very urbanized/high density population to rural agricultural land use ane includes recreational areas surrounding the lakes.
Soils, Climate and Geologic Characteristics
The Little Sac watershed originates in Eldon-Pembroke, Pearidge-Wilderness-Goss-Pembroke, and Needleye-Viraton-Wilderness soil associations. It then flows through Peridge-Wilderness-Goss-Pembroke soils. The lower reach flows through Hartville-Ashton-Cedargap-Nolin bottomland soils until it is inundated by Stockton Reservoir. Two impoundments near the headwaters of the Little Sac watershed (Fellows Lake and McDaniel Lake) cause a rapid descent to Hartville-Ashton-Cedargap-Nolin bottomland soils. In general, the soils are moderately deep to very deep, moderately well drained to well drained, and medium to fine textured.
The watershed is characterized by a temperate climate with warm, humid summers and cool, wet winters. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operate a climatoligical station at the Springfield-Branson Regional Airport. The average temperature range as measured at the airport is 67 degrees to 90 degress Fahrenheit during the summer and 20 degress to 42 degress Fahrenheit during the winter. The annual precipitation is between 40-42 inches of raninfall and 17 inches of snowfall in Springfield. The annual runoff from precipitation ranges from 8-10 inches.
Elevations in the watershed range from 270 m (885 ft) at the watershed outlet to 455 m (1490 ft) at the southeastern boundary. The major part of the watershed consists of rolling plains. On the east side, broad upland areas divide the Little Sac watershed from Pomme de Terre watershed.
The Ozarks, including the lower Little Sac River watershed, are well known for their karst geology characterized by numerous sinkholes, caves, bedrock fractures, and streams. The karst developments that are typical of the Springfield plateau aquifer are mostly located south and east of the Little Sac River watershed.
Two aquifers lie under the Little Sac River watershed. The Ozark aquifer is a high-yielding, deep confined aquifer of generally very good quality. It provides for municipal, agricultural, and industrial water. The Springfield plateau aquifer is an unconfined, shallow aquifer located about 200 ft below the ground surface that is recharged by precipitation. The aquifer if generally of good quality and was a water supply resource until the mid-1950’s. Since then, the contamination of the aquifer around Springfield has prompted strict regulations for wells. Most of the domestic water is now pumped from the deep Ozark aquifer but the Springfield aquifer still provides agricultural and industrial water.
The Little Sac River watershed is located in the Ozark Border Area, Major Land Resource Area (MRLA) 116B. This area is part of the northeast and central farming forest region. The Ozark Border MLRA is comprised of approximately 35% forest, 25% pasture; mainly of introduced grasses and legumes, and 40% cropland. Feed grains and hay are the main crops. Summer droughts and steep slopes limit the use of the land for crop production. Shallow wells, small creeks, or springs are often used for livestock needs. Deep wells supply drinking water and water for high volume uses. This area supports oak-hickory forests. The grassland supports a combination of introduced and native tall-prairie grasses consisting mainly of indian grass, little bluestem, big bluestem, and switch grass. Introduced grasses include fescue, annual crab grasses, and Kentucky bluegrass. The pastures are mostly fescue grass over-seeded with red clover.The watershed consists mostly of grassland (67%) and forests (30%). The grassland designation includes hay, pasture and land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Hay and CRP land, which are sometimes considered cropland, behave more like grassland in terms of runoff, erosion and nutrient overloads and have been left in this class. Urban areas are found in 2.4% of the watershed. This is the north part of Springfield. A high contamination potential is due to the high urban population density and the amount of impervious surfaces. Springfield is about 25% impervious on average draining to this watershed. New developments have been required to use extended detention basins with approximately 40 hours of retention as well as grass buffer strips and grass channels since the Water Quality Protection Policy passed in 1999.
Related Projects and Best Management Practices (BMP’s)
Within the watershed BMP’s and other water quality improvement projects have been installed and utilized. The Little Sac Restoration Project 319 Grant enabled the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks to carry out three stream bank stabilization projects (including on adjacent of the Fulbright Landfill on the South Dry Sac), riparian exclusions on two private landowners’ property, five management intensive grazing systmes, six alternative watering systems, and one animal waste containment system.
Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Little Sac River Watershed, Fecal Coliform Total Maximum Daily Load FAPRI_UMC Report #11-06 June 2006
United States Geological Survey. Water Quality in the Little Sac River Basin near Springfield, Missouri, 1999-2001. Water-Resources Investigations Report 02-415
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2002. Land Resource Regions and Major Land Resource Areas of the United States. Agriculture Handbook 296. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C
Missouri Department of Conservation. Sac River Watershed Inventory and Assessment.
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey URL: http//ar.water.usgs.gov/nawqa/ozark/setting.html>
Watershed Committee of the Ozarks. Little Sac Watershed Restoration Project Final Report. 2005
Projects Under Development
Recreational Trails Grant
Section 319 Nonpoint Source Implementation Grant
Education opportunities for the public will come in the form of workshops, field days and two publications:
1) How to Farm in the City
2) Rain Water Harvesting Manual for Southwest Missouri. Local regulations will be reviewed that could cause producers difficulty in establishing beneficial agriculture practices int eh urban setting. The project will be completed by December 2012. For further information contact Matt Keener (417) 866-1127 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A Partnership for Water Conservation
For more information on this exciting project, click on the Watershed Center link, Watershed Center
Water Quality Monitoring
During the summer, WCO assists the Springfield-Greene County Health Department with collecting their weekly bacteria samples in streams that are public swimming locations. After the samples are analyzed the E.Coli and Total Coliform results are posted on the health department’s webpage the following day for the public to access. In years past, the Watershed Committee collects samples bi-weekly. This year the WCO was able to assist the health department by handling all the field sample collections. This water testing is not regulatory, it is voluntary and a courtesy to the people of Greene County. To find weekly sample data visit,
For more information about local water quality sampling, call Stacey Armstrong, Projects Manager at 417-866-1127
Rain Garden at Valley Water Mill
There are two kinds of rain gardens: wet and dry. The wet rain garden holds water almost all of the time. The rain garden at Valley Water Mill is a dry rain garden and most water is absorbed within 48 hours…too soon for mosquito larvae to hatch.
Wildlife prefers locally grown native plants. If you plant a rain garden, be sure to buy plants native to Missouri. Native plants have deep root systems that help water infiltrate the soil. Non-Native vs. Native Graphic below illustrates root systems. Visit www.grownative.org to find nurseries that specialize in Missouri-grown native plants.To learn more about the benefits of rain gardens and how to construct one, visit:
(click on Lawn & Garden Care, then browse to How to build Your Own Rain Garden)
Our Rain Garden Progress at Valley Water Mill
September 2007 June 2008
Watershed Center Monitoring Wells
The monitoring wells measure the water levels of the two separate aquifers under the Springfield area. The shallow Springfield Aquifer and the deeper Ozark Aquifer are separated by a layer of rock called Northview Shale–this layer acts as a barrier between the two aquifers. The wells measure the water levels of the Springfield and Ozark Aquifers, and communicate real-time data via satellite. Both wells are at this link, listed under “Greene County.” http://nwis.waterdata.usgs.gov/mo/nwis/current/?type=gw
The two monitoring wells at the Watershed Center are part of a bigger project by the Water Resources Center of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources–adding new wells to the statewide observation well network. The existing network of 75 wells, from 30 to 1800 feet deep, help monitor the status of groundwater resources throughout the state of Missouri. Eighty additional observation wells are planned.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources Water Resource Center has a very helpful website on everything related to groundwater and wells, including the monitoring well network: http://www.dnr.gov/env/wrc/index.html
Wells are one of the many water resource education tools planned for the Watershed Center. The Watershed Center at Valley Water Mill is a project of the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks and partners. The Center is designed to teach citizens the importance of water quality, and demonstrate techniques and technology to do so. Four learning stations, trails, and educational resources are in place and an environmentally friendly “green” learning center is planned for the site.
For more information about the Watershed Center, the educational mission of the Watershed Center, or information about the monitoring wells, contact Mike Kromrey at The Watershed Committee of the Ozarks.
Water Quality Kiosk
1) an interactive watershed map focusing on the major watersheds of the Springfield urban area. The map contains clickable icons linking to images and facts about water quality, best management practices, locally unique animals and plants, and water and wastewater treatment.
2) information about the €œwatershed collection, a large group of water-related books, videos and DVDs that the Library now has available for check-out.
3) a cave exploration game, where players earn cave exploration tools (helmet, light, etc.) by correctly answering questions about water quality and karst. As a reward for earning these tools, the user gets to explore a cave and its strange life and beautiful formations.
4) a list of the project partners.
The kiosk also contains a self-assessment tool that allows sponsors to download use information.