Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Updates on Lake Springfield, Weather Trends, and more from our 2023 February Monthly Meeting @ the Watershed Center

Our February Meeting took place at the Watershed Center on Feb. 3 at 7:30 am.

Project engineer Jason Clark discussed the City of Springfield’s ongoing development plan for Lake Springfield. Mr. Clark said that his company, with Crawford, Murphy, & Tilly, Inc (CMT) engineering firm, was selected by the City of Springfield and City Utilities as the engineering consultant for the Lake Springfield Plan, and the Plan is expected to be complete by the summer of 2024. 

Lake Springfield was created in 1957 by damming the James River to provide cooling water for the power plant. The lake and surrounding area were identified as a redevelopment opportunity during the City’s ‘Forward Springfield’ planning process. Clark emphasized that the decommissioning of the James River Power Station presents a unique opportunity for adaptive reuse of the facility, repurposing part of the larger site for active recreation. 

He explained that an in-depth hydrological study is underway to identify the feasibility of various opportunities for the Lake and James River and help guide the plan forward. Elements of the Plan include 

  1. Recreational Expansion Opportunities
  2. Economic Opportunities (development and workforce)
  3. Transportation, Access, and Wayfinding
  4. Land Use Plan- Public Facilities, Cultural and Environmental Resources. 

Mr. Clark said the dam infrastructure would be assessed, both the earthen berm and the concrete sections. Public input has included better access to the park, better connections around and across the lake, and more diverse spaces. He said the Plan would include transformative and innovative ideas spaces around the Park for:

  1. Education
  2. Preservation
  3. Connectivity
  4. Activation

There will be another public meeting with the water hydrology results in late spring or early summer. He informed us that the City received funding for the study and development plan. Funding for the plan is not yet secured, and outside funding sources will also be needed to implement the Plan improvements.

Next, Megan Terry with the National Weather Service gave a recap of the 2022 weather trends in the area. Ms. Terry said the precipitation for the Springfield area in 2022 was 50 inches, about 8 inches above normal. She said we went through many wet, and dry periods, leading to drought conditions. Precipitation records were set on:

  • February 3 for snowfall (6.8 inches)
  • May 5 for rainfall (2.18 inches)
  • August for rainfall 29 (1.11 inches)
  • November 14 for snowfall (.9 inches)

There were 4 days in July 2022 with record high temperatures and 1 day in August and September, 2 days in October with record lows and 8 days in June with record warm lows, 2 days in July and one day in October and December with record warm lows. She reviewed this year’s snow events; the 2023 snowfall at this time is 6.8 inches. She described how a three-month outlook predicts favorable conditions for above-normal precipitation and equal conditions for normal temperatures.

In Other Business — Dave Coonrod said he continues to focus on CAFO protection in the Ozarks. Ms. Sheridan reported the forage loss in Missouri was up to 60% due to the wet weather in the spring and drought conditions over the summer. Sheridan said NRCS is developing a Forage Indicator Index to help farmers receive help/funding when conditions hamper forage growth. Currently, there is nothing like a Forage Indicator Index in the U.S. She said NRCS is working with Watershed Committee on the RCPP agreement, and 12 applications were accepted to participate in the program to put practices on the ground, half forestry, half grazing. Two applications are in Greene County, and ten are in Webster County. 

Thank you for catching up. We hope to see you at our March Meeting; details coming soon!