March Monthly Meeting Recap:
Our 2023 March Monthly Meeting was held at 7:30 a.m. at the Watershed Center.
Ashley Krug, Market Development & Sustainability Coordinator at the City of Springfield, and Saki Urushidani, Engineer at the City of Springfield, presented on Using Non-Traditional Community Outreach to Understand Springfieldians’ Relationships to Water.
Saki and Ashley are working to integrate strategies for community sustainability programming and Urban Water Access for All. Ms. Krug said the Community Foundation of the Ozarks is in partnership with The Funders Network, who is committed to supporting efforts to create communities and regions that are sustainable, prosperous and just, gave them the opportunity to apply for a Partners for Places mini-grant.
They were awarded a $10,000 grant to research Urban Waters Access for All in Springfield. Ms. Urushidani explained how they developed a survey called “Let’s Talk About Water!”
The City of Springfield’s Department of Environmental Services is working to protect and improve the area’s air, water, and land resources while being responsible with citizens’ dollars. The survey language also said they would like to learn more about how you use our local water sources (e.g. Streams, lakes, pools, etc.) Survey questions included:
- Which of these activities do you or your household participate in ?
- What would you/your household like to do that wasn’t circled above?
- If you/your household do not participate in these activities, why not?
- Do you think local streams are safe to swim or wade in?
- Do you think our drinking water is safe?
Ms. Krug said they used non-traditional methods to reach targeted minority audiences in Springfield. They walked these neighborhoods, placed door hanger surveys on doors, and picked them up a few days later. They hosted focus groups at SAAB (Student African American Brotherhood), Study Alternative School, Southwest Native American Center, and Elementary Schools. They also attended community events such as National Night Out, Culture Fest, Homeschool Outdoor Fair, and Park Day to interact with the attendees and gather survey information. Their team utilized traditional methods with community partners and social media outreach to further push the survey.
Ms. Krug and Ms. Urushidani shared their survey results and discussed lessons learned. They said although very time-consuming, there was great value in the person to person events and door-to-door surveys. The next steps include sharing the information collected with shareholders, finalizing the SROI access, look at the next round of P4P grants, continuing work on the Lake Springfield Master Plan, and institutionalizing this type of research.
Next, Randal Willoughby with the Department of Natural Resources reported that trout season is open, they have an Engineer position open, and there is a 319 subgrant open to proposals for approved watersheds, including the James River and Little Sac. He said the Department of Natural Resources has been working on upgrading the stormwater regulation permit process for land disturbance. He discussed the program that will work to reduce phosphorus discharges from large facilities throughout the state.
Regional Issues — Todd Wilkinson said volunteers are needed for their Earth Day cleanup, and folks can sign up on the James River Basin Partnership website. Stacey Armstrong Smith said free Understanding Ag workshops are coming up in March and will take place in Rogersville, Lamar, and Springfield. More information can be found on the Watershed Committee website. Christy Wilder said Watershed Natives has new stickers that will be available for sale.