Who We Are
The Watershed Committee of the Ozarks (WCO) is a non-profit organization with the mission “to sustain and improve the water resources of Springfield and Greene County through education and effective Management of the region’s watersheds.” We are a collection of local citizens who care passionately about the mission of the WCO and the future of our community. Our six member board of directors guides and augments the work of the staff. The Watershed Committee is supported by three sponsors: the City of Springfield, Greene County, and City Utilities, and relies heavily on additional public and private funds, volunteers, and partners to work towards the mission.
What We Do and How We Do It
The work of our mission falls primarily into two categories: Projects and Education. Our current projects involve a variety of public and private partners, and urban and rural citizens to improve water quality. Many of our current and completed projects include demonstrations of low-impact development techniques to reduce pollution in stormwater and gather information on the effectiveness of pollution reducing practices to continue to improve their effectiveness.
Our educational efforts strive to give all citizens information and experiences which improve their understanding of local water resources and encourage the stewardship of those resources. Participants range of audiences from children to professionals. The Watershed Center at Valley Water Mill Park is the heart of our educational mission. The Watershed Center Activity Menu explains some of the many topics to learn about on field trips, and even casual visitors can utilize the interpretive signs, or the vast list of our publications on our website like. Both our projects and educational efforts help our community meet Federally Mandated “MS4” (link to City or some other outside site about MS4) requirements and a more detailed list can be found in our Annual Report.
When did we start?
The WCO was formed 1984 by the community to safeguard the local water supply in response to a series of taste and odor events in the drinking water caused by human impacts in the watershed. The future of the health of our communities, people, economy, and environment depends on clean, abundant water. Southwest Missouri continues to grow, and demand for clean, abundant water continues to intensify, both here and across the world. The mission of the WCO remains relevant and urgent.
Where do we work?
As Luna Leopold eloquently stated, “the health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land.” Most water protection activities and projects actually occur on the land and with people, because most water quality impacts come from the land and how people use it. The watersheds we focus on include the Upper James River and Little Sac River because these rivers and their associated reservoirs provide the drinking water for the largest population center of the area (Springfield) where City Utilities captures, treats, and delivers high-quality drinking water.
We work to assist both rural and urban citizens and communities. Water does not follow human or political boundaries. Rather it connects them or flows through them. The stewardship of water of these resources requires the actions of both individuals and communities, and clean water benefits all of us.
Maybe this is obvious. Water is essential for everyone-it connects us all. For our region to continue to grow and prosper, for our health, for our economy, for the fish and fowl and children catching crawdads in the creek, for a future we all want to share, we must continually strive and focus on clean water and take the actions necessary to sustain and improve our water resources. Get involved.