Little Sac Restoration and Improvement Project

Targeting non-point source pollution in the heart of our drinking watershed

Project Summary:

Watershed Committee of the Ozarks was awarded a subgrant agreement from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to improve the drinking watershed of Springfield and Greene County. The project will focus on reducing the loading of pollutants identified in the 303(d) watershed(s) and accompanying Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Upper Little Sac River, as described and recommended in the watershed based plan for that basin, by targeting the sub-watershed for the implementation of BMPs that will reduce nonpoint source pollution. The approach of this project will be to monitor the performance of the selected best management practices (BMPs). Practices will include a demonstration of Longitudinal Peaked Stone Toe Protection (a method of stabilizing eroding banks), prescribed grazing systems, bank vegetative buffers, and alternative livestock watering sources at individual sites and regional levels in the sub-watershed, as well as estimate sub-watershed pollutant loading improvements at sub-watershed outlets. The BMP designs and improvements will then be incorporated into criteria manuals for future policies and ordinances addressing agricultural and urban water quality. Project partners, namely City Utilities of Springfield, the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Missouri Department of Conservation will assist in BMP implementation and monitoring of the projects implemented.

On June 21, 2018 the Missouri Department of Natural Resources awarded an additional grant amendment bringing the total grant funding to $380,442 with a required $225,222 in local match.  The final year of the grant will be focused on writing and updating our EPA nine element Upper Little Sac Watershed Management Plan. The grant will be extended until May 31, 2019.

As part of the Little Sac Restoration and Improvement Project on November 6-8, 2017 the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks hosted a hands-on educational workshop, which coincided with the construction of a stream stabilization project on the Little Sac River. Forty people participated in the workshop to help construct the Longitudinal Peaked Stone Toe Protection streambank stabilization project, which includes an engineered floodplain bench, bendway weirs, unrooted live pole plantings, vegetated and curved keys, and rooted stock plants. Mr. Dave Derrick a Potomologist and Stream Stabilization Specialist with River Research & Design, Inc. from Vicksburg, MS with over 20 years’ experience lead the workshop and provided construction oversight.

This project helps reduce nonpoint source pollutants from entering the Little Sac River, which will benefit our drinking water supply for many years to come. We are very thankful to all of our community partners that made this project possible including the landowners, the grant steering committee, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Greene County, Missouri Department of Conservation, Wildscape Environmental Services and all of our workshop attendees!

The final year of the grant will be focused on writing and updating our EPA nine element Upper Little Sac Watershed Management Plan. Part of the plan updates include the Bacteria Source Tracking Report for the Little Sac River, which was recently completed by Missouri State University Ozarks Environmental and Water Resources Institute. Bacteria samples were collected at five sites in the watershed in fall 2017 to look for presence of human, bovine, chicken, goose and dog bacteria markers. The results can be found below:

Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) simulated flow and bacteria in Little Sac Watershed: A Best Management Practice Assessment

Bacteria Source Tracking to Support Watershed Planning, Little Sac River, Southwest Missouri