Current Grants - Card Style
The Watershed Committee of the Ozarks was awarded the USDA
Current Grants - List Style
The Watershed Committee of the Ozarks was awarded the USDA Conservation Technical Assistance Grant for $49,0000 on September 15, 2018. The project is to promote public awareness and implementation of Farm Bill activities, especially in historically underserved communities and in watersheds critical to drinking water supply.
As part of the grant WCO has created a survey to understand the knowledge farmers, producers and growers have of the farm bill practices and cost share programs currently available. A local contact list for the watershed is being generated to disperse the survey. As part of the grant milestones outreach conservation workshops will be conducted focusing on soil health and managed grazing.
Farming is a major land use in the Sac and James River Watersheds, and nearly all agriculture in these watersheds occurs on private land. Farming operations can occupy a wide spectrum of impact, ranging from land-healing to land-using and abusing. Not all farms are land-healing, but almost no farmer intends to degrade land and water. We find that land-healing farming methods are often adopted once people are exposed to these profitable, productive, and effective practices. With the help of City Utilities, local Natural Resources Conservation Services staff, and the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District, we are working to renovate and reopen the Agricultural Demonstration Area (ADA) to provide another way to showcase and share excellent farming practices.
The ADA is located between Fellows Lake and McDaniel Lake. The land is owned by City Utilities, which has leased the parcel to WCO to manage this endeavor. The ADA will showcase riparian protection, prescribed/rotational grazing, warm and cool season pastures, and alternative watering systems. The ADA will be used for classes, tours, and scientific study, and offer sub-leases to local farmers who want to use the land within the restorative farming principals. The Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Greene County Soil and Water District will be the primary education partners, and Missouri State University and City Utilities will likely participate in the science and research aspects.
Some of the infrastructure from the original project have been re-used, and some of the previous improvements—like a warm-season grass pasture and a robust buffer of trees along the stream—will be valuable assets. Funds from the Little Sac Restoration and Improvement Project, City Utilities, and a grant from Lucky’s Market have helped bring the ADA back into working order. In 2018, this support allowed us to install new perimeter fencing, refurbish the watering system, install a water crossing, complete interior fencing (except for one water gap), install a new solar power unit for the electric fence, burn several tons of brush and trees accumulated in the process of re-clearing out the pasture areas, and accomplish many other tasks to get the place up and running.
CU, County Soil and Water Conservation District, USDA, MSU Ag
The Watershed Committee of the Ozarks was awarded the USDA Conservation Technical Assistance Grant for $49,0000 on September 15, 2018. The project is titled the Sac and James River Watershed Conservation Outreach Project and the objective of the project is to promote public awareness and implementation of Farm Bill activities, especially in historically underserved communities and in watersheds critical to drinking water supply. The project partners include the Greene, Polk, Cedar and Dade County NRCS and Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and the Missouri Department of Conservation and the grant will end September 15, 2020.
As part of the grant WCO has created a survey to understand what knowledge farmers, producers and growers have of the farm bill practices and cost share programs currently available. A local contact list for the watershed is being generated to disperse the survey. As part of the grant milestones, outreach conservation workshops will be conducted focusing on soil health and managed grazing.
The Watershed Committee received a $10,000 grant from the Darr Family Foundation (DFF). This funding will be used to help establish a nursery operation, focused on native plants, at Hillcrest High School.
In partnership with Springfield Public Schools (SPS), the Watershed Committee has helped develop a 3-year “college and career pathway” program at Hillcrest. SPS describes this pathway this way: “The Environmental and Natural Resource Management Pathway teaches students how to properly manage land, water, soil, plants, and animals. These classes have a focus on how management affects the quality of life for both present and future generations.” More recently, school leaders have embraced the inclusion of agriculture within this pathway, and are excited to establish the first Future Farmers of America student organization in the SPS system at Hillcrest. The program will provide industry recognized credential opportunities, and readiness for a variety of college and/or career pathways such as agriculture, environmental restoration, the sciences, and more.
The native plant nursery component of this program is integral. The opportunity for the students to be involved with growing and selling native plants blends science, business, and agriculture. Coupled with the growing demand for native plants in the market, the Watershed Committee intends to market and sell the plants produced to generate enough revenue to support the program. Seed money from the DFF will help us create a truly sustainable program and incredible opportunity for local students.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources announced the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks received a $400,000 grant to the for restoration and improvements to the Little Sac River. The funding is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.
The project will focus on reducing bacteria in the Upper Little Sac River basin while also helping to decrease soil erosion and lower nutrient levels in the watershed. This will be accomplished by using practices proven to be effective in reducing pollution from stormwater runoff.
Local community partners will provide a contribution of $266,667 over the life of the project, bringing the total cost of the project to $666,667. The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2025. Water quality improvement efforts will include stream restoration, riparian corridor enhancement, bioretention, volunteer tree plantings and septic tank maintenance. Project partners will assist with implementation and performance monitoring of the selected practices.