I had the opportunity last night to attend a reading that Missouri State’s English department put on. Sitting in the auditorium of the Library Center, I was moved by the creative and often humorous poetry of a professor, new to our university. I was astonished at the short story that my friend wrote and read to us. Leaving the event, I was inspired. “I’ll write every night, and play guitar for an hour each day!” I exclaimed to my roommate. The creative juices were flowing, and I needed to harness them. In the cold light of day, the clash between theory and practice has yet to take shape. Often times I have found myself in the same predicament. Inspiration has taken hold of me, plans are laid, and solemn vows taken before family and friends. “I will write songs, a whole album of songs!” or, “I will learn to play banjo! For real this time!” However, after a short time, and a brief exposure to daily tasks and routines, the inspiration wanes and I return to the baseline once again.

I believe the circumstances which are central to my quandary relate to input and output, deposit and withdraw. After all, it is little wonder that I run short of motivation when my mountain-top experiences seem few and far between. The solution is simple. Go up to the mountain more often. I’ve really only to make more time to spend being recharged; by fellowship, the outdoors, the arts. As life demands of us creativity and energy, we must take steps to put back in what we are taking out. We must bring our account out of the red. We must recharge.

Walnut Streetscape before BMPs

It occurs to me that water is much the same as us, particularly groundwater and reservoirs. We’ve experienced a long season with no deposits, and at a time when we needed the water the most. With surfaces that do not permit water to reach the soil, we deny ourselves much of the deposits that would otherwise recharge our supply. I’ve written before about water catchment, but there is a way we can go further to collect rainwater. Rather than water that rushes over hard surfaces and flows swiftly through our yards and neighborhoods, we could be slowing that water, allowing it to soak through the soil and bedrock, becoming clean and refilling our aquifers. Low Impact Development is a mechanism by which we can mimic the natural environment.

Rain gardens, pervious pavement, bio-swales, and retention basins are examples of LID or Best Management Practices (BMPs).  Not only are these structures attractive, but they allow rainwater to infiltrate into the ground and recharge our groundwater. You can visit examples of

Walnut Streetscape after BMPs

LID practices here in Springfield. The Big Urbie grant, managed by Stacey Armstrong,  is a DNR 319 urban stormwater grant. One project of the grant includes stormwater improvements with the Walnut Streetscape project  between John Q Hammons and Kimbrough Avenue. This project features pervious pavement and infiltration swales which allows water to soak into the ground and be filtered before entering our groundwater. Other LID practices be found at the parking lot at Discovery Center of Springfield, a raingarden in the Rountree neighborhood or at the C.W. Titus Watershed Education Facility at the Watershed Center.  If you want more information about Low Impact Development, follow this link to these great websites and We have many tools at our disposal to recharge our drinking water. We have only to use them.

Rob Hunt, Watershed Center Coordinator

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