Our Projects

//A listing of our current and recently completed projects

Recently Completed Projects

Southwest Missouri Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP)

Springfield-Branson Onsite Remediation Project

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

The Springfield region of Missouri has seen high growth rates in the last decade. Much of this growth has occured south of the city, and in unincorporated areas. Many of these areas rely on well water, and on-site septic systems to service business and houshold needs. The area known as the “Springfield Plateau has a unique suite of soils, topography and hydrology. These features present a distinctive potential for groundwater contamination. Stormwater issues, often overlooked in the past, are being reexamined during the “phase II” stormwater permitting. A demonstration site for new and innovative stormwater controls that can be compared to more traditional designs would benefit builders as well as city permitters and planners. Educational features that can incorporate watershed and groundwater protection would naturally tie the importance of septic and stormwater in preventing nonpoint source pollution.

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

This watershed management plan is focused on the Little Sac River watershed. Creating a watershed management plan is a complicated and time-consuming task! It takes months of planning and research but is well worth the effort. A watershed management plan is a living document, a vision for protecting and restoring the watershed and a plan for carrying it out. The process of watershed planning can have benefits beyond the road map that is created-it can help build a sense of community by bringing people together with different backgrounds and perspectives to define the future of their area, by helping identify the community’s cultural, historical and natural resources, and by educating the public about their watershed and the issues it faces.

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.

Hydrologic Setting
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.

Land Use
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.

Reference Cited
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

In March of 2011, the Watershed Committee received a Recreational Trails Grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. The purpose of this grant is to construct 1,550 ft. of hard surface trail connecting the existing Lakeside Learning Station to the newly constructed C.W. Titus Education Facility. The grant will also provide money to aide in construction of a trailhead and parking lot fo the building. Total project costs are estimated at $143,090, with $85,000 of the amount coming from the federal grant and the remaining coming from local matching funds. When completed, the trail section will increase the hard surface trails on the site to just over 3,000 ft.

Section 319 Nonpoint Source Implementation Grant

The Watershed Committee of the Ozarks has been awarded a Section 319 Nonpoint Source Implementation Grant by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. The grant total award will be $1,000,000 applied over four years toward stormwater best management practices to reduce nonpoint source pollutants in Springfield and Greene County. A variety of water quality improvement projects including rain gardens, rainwater harvesting, native vegetation, vegetative filters, infiltration trenches, streetscapes projects, riparian restoration projects and retrofits of standard detention basins will be implemented in four targeted sub-watersheds; Jordan Creek, Fassnight Creek, South Creek and Pea Ridge Creek. Project partners include City of Springfield Storm Water Services Division, Greene County Resource Management, Ozarks Environmental and Water Resources Institute, Missouri State Project WET, James River Basin Partnership and Ozark Greenways.


In October 2010, the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks was awarded a USDA grant through the Natural Resource Conservation Service to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies in the urban setting. The grant will leverage federal investment in environmental protection while at the same time encouraging urban agricultural production. The WCO will be working with two local producers, Urban Roots and Milsap Farm, to demonstrate practices that are beneficial to the producer, environment, and the consuming public.

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 matt@watershedcommittee.org

A Partnership for Water Conservation

Drury University, City Utilities of Springfield, and the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks have teamed up for a multi-step water conservation initiative on the Drury Campus. Through grant funding, the Wateshed Committee purchased a largequantity of water conserving devices like sink aerators, low flow showerheads, leak detecting tablets and shower timers. Over the summer, many of these devices were installed in buildings on Drury campus. Drury also sponsored the Watershed Committee to host a booth at the new student involvement fair on August 24, 2009. Later this fall, the Watershed Committee plans to work with students and faculty to create a water conservation competition. To help tell this story and see how effective the programs are, Drury and City Utilities of Springfield will be working to record how much water is saved. We are looking foward to making a difference-and measuring it!

Watershed Center

Clean water is a distinguishing feature of the Ozarks. Many agencies and organizations are working to keep it that way, including the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks. To help further this goal, a few years ago the Committee embarked on the development of the Watershed Center at Valley Water Mill. This 100-acre, publicly owned site contains a large spring, seventeen-acre lake, wetlands, sinkholes, caves and stream frontage. Here, project partners will construct a watershed education facility that will be a model for sustainable development.

For more information on this exciting project, click on the Watershed Center link, Watershed Center

Water Quality Monitoring

Summer Stream Testing Summary:

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, http://health.springfieldmo.gov/index.aspx?nid=218 Stacey Armstrong, Projects Manager at 417-866-1127

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  • Rain Garden at Valley Water Mill

    The Watershed Committee has partnered with a local Sierra Club to construct a Rain Garden at Valley Water Mill. This project will aid in preventing stormwater runoff from entering Valley Water Mill Lake. Rain gardens are being used throughout the state as water quality BMP’s (Best Management Practices). Rain Gardens are desinged to slow down, capture and absorb water using elements similar to those in nature: plants, rocks, shallow swales and depressions that hold water temporarily rather than let it quickly run away. Rain Gardens will reduce drainage and flooding problems, keep pollutants out of the nearby streams, rivers and lakes and bring beauty and wildlife to the landscape.

    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

    Groundwater is a precious resource, and many people statewide rely on it exclusively for their water supply. The observation wells at the Watershed Center provide valuable groundwater data, as well as an educational tool for the Watershed Center.

    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.

    Well Education
    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.
    (417) 866-1127

    Water Quality Kiosk

    The Watershed Center (Watershed Committee), in cooperation with the Springfield/Greene County Library District, produced this Water Quality for Life educational kiosk, which has been placed at the Library Center in south Springfield. The kiosk, shaped like a giant water drop falling on a karst landscape, presents visitors with four areas to explore:

    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.

    Adopt-A-Spring Program

    As a volunteer in the Adopt-A-Spring Program you will be trained by a member of our professional staff to collect and analyze spring water from various springs located in the greater Springfield area. The Watershed Committee provides all of the supplies and equipment needed for testing. For more information, please contact Mike Kromrey (417)866-1127