City of Springfield, Summer 2020

Project Description: Native Plant Landscape Maintenance

Partners: City of Springfield  

Through an agreement with the City of Springfield, Watershed Conservation Corps (WCC) will assist in Springfield’s increased effort to maintain and support native plant growth while taking measures to control invasive species populations primarily along creeks and greenway trails. Six project locations will help to improve three urban streams in springfield, project sites and streams include: 

  • Fassnight Creek – between Jefferson Avenue and Campbell Street 
  • Jordan Creek – between Bennet Street and Grand Street, between Grand Street and Mount Vernon Street and between Grant Avenue and Fort Avenue 
  • South Creek – Between Campbell Avenue and Kansas Expressway and between National Avenue and Campbell Avenue 

 WCC will continue to assist our partners in improving native habitats which can be particularly scarce in urban and suburban settings. WCC will provide services for the City of Springfield aimed to improve the following: recreation opportunities, transportation infrastructure, tourism destinations, and quality-of-life necessities. Through this project and others in the future, WCC will continue to connect people to our beautiful outdoors, each other, and the places they want to go. 

City of Springfield: Jordan Creek riparian corridor, Winter 2019

Project Description: Restoring one mile stretch of Jordan Creek’s riparian corridor

Partners: City of Springfield

The Watershed Conservation Corps has been working with local partners to continue the rich legacy of sustaining and improving Jordan Creek. For the past month the WCC has worked to restore a one mile stretch of Jordan Creek’s riparian corridor that runs parallel to Kansas Expressway between Mt. Vernon Street and Grand. While this portion of Jordan Creek was spared the fate of the concrete and development that saw sections of the creek completely enclosed just a mile upstream, it has its own, and perhaps equally detrimental, problems—invasive species.

The correlative strength between water quality and invasive species has grown increasingly high over the past decade. Science is showing that certain species, when grown in such disproportionate volume to other flora, can impact riparian areas in a way that are not dissimilar to industrialization and urbanization. Invasive species characteristics like defoliation rate/period, allelopathic effects of plant material, nutrient uptake, increased photoperiod, root structure, forest succession suppression, etc. have measurable impacts on our water. In fact, studies are showing that with the influx of invasive species within riparian corridors, water quality, and the biological indicators that are related to impairment, are becoming damaged—one author suggesting that “wintercreeper (an invasive species) infested riparian areas within the Midwest behave, ecologically, in a similar fashion to parking lots.”

The point here is that while invasive species management projects in sensitive areas still find themselves routinely relegated to the domains of ideology or aesthetics, the science is trending in an altogether different direction. There is no need to appeal to some “pre-Columbian hope” as a justification for these types of projects—neither a need to take-up an indefensible ideological position that would have us indebted to a “mother earth” or something equally as fallacious. Invasive species treatment projects in riparian areas find their justification in the same category as our other proven approaches to water protection—through their propensity to abate conditions related to impairment.

We’re excited that our local leaders are taking steps to add invasive control into their arsenal of water improvement strategies, and we’re honored that we can bring our expertise to table, while educating and employing youth at the same time.

Caleb Sanders, Watershed Conservation Corps Director

City of Nixa, Winter 2019

Project Description: Island bed restoration 

Partners: City of Nixa

Christian County – The Property of Nixa Public Works; located at 1111 W. Kathryn St. Nixa, MO 65714. Site: 7,840 ft2 (0.18 acres) island bed located on the southern border of the property, immediately adjacent to Kathryn Street.

Project Overview

WCC and City of Nixa implemented four shrubs and four trees into this island to favor the following benefits therein: establish canopy cover, provide forage and habitat for wildlife, increase the island’s capacity to capture storm water runoff, and to improve aesthetic value of the property while also increasing property value.

WCC provided one qualified crew leader and one corps member for the project. These participants were responsible for transportation, planting, and mulching of the trees once planted. WCC provided the following: transportation to and from site, personal protective gear, communications equipment, and emergency plans with respect to the location.

Springfield-Greene County Park Board, Summer 2019

Project Description: Glade Restoration at Lake Springfield

Partners: Springfield-Greene County Park Board

Project Details:

Need and objectives:  Convert three (3) acres from a mixed cool-season grass and Johnson grass stand to a mix of native warm-season grasses and wildflowers to represent a Dry-mesic Limestone/Dolomite Prairie.

Project area and habitat type:  The project areas consist of three (3) acres of cool seasons grasses long with the invasive Johnson grass.  The area is only maintained once a year with brush hogging.  Just east of the projected native restoration area is a steep slope approx. two-hundred (200) yards long that is not mow able.  Native grass plugs and native flower plugs would be planted to stabilize the slope along with giving it a more attractive native look.

Expected benefits:  The native prairie would drastically improve the wildlife habitat.  With implementing native plants, it would invite more native wildlife to the area.  With the park inside the Springfield City limits, it offers a large community a short drive to enjoy the abundance of natural resources found in the park.   The annual estimated parks attendance is one-hundred thousand (100,000).  This project would enhance the visitors experience with promoting recreation such as wildlife photography and hiking.

Approach/ methodology:  An aquatic safe herbicide would be applied that follows the vegetation plan that is assigned to the park.  The aquatic safe herbicide would be applied three (3) times with an early summer, fall and late fall application.  Early winter a native seed mix would be broadcasted on the three acres.  In the late spring, surveying of the to determine germination success.  Vegetation would be mowed at the height of 6 inches during the first growing season to decrease competition for noxious weeds.  The second year the mowing height would be raised to twelve (12) inches to decrease competition for broadleaf.  Mowing would not be allowed on the third year.  Burning regimes or winter mowing will be the maintenance plan to maintain the prairie.