Raison D'etre (Reason for Being)
It can be challenging to measure the effectiveness of projects and programs that protect our water. We strive to quantify and report our efforts, but often real life situations are more telling. Here are two very recent examples of the services we provide to our sponsors and our community, which illustrate our purpose and reason for being.
The Parks and Waterways Sales Tax (which sunseted on July 1) provided funding for much needed upgrades at Doling Park. The upgrades included a lake renovation and the installation of stormwater best management practices. Unfortunately, after the renovation, the lake developed a serious leak! The WCO helped City staff isolate the leak with our dye tracing capabilities. The process of continuing to make spot repairs would probably have cost an excess of $30,000--with teamwork and field work these costs were avoided!
The Environmental Division of Greene County provides important services to protect water resources and human health. Staff are often in the field investigating septic systems and sinkholes. An attentive Greene County employee noticed a "new" or recently developed sinkhole in route to other inspections. Unfortunately, the sinkhole was being improperly filled with junk including potential hazards to the aquifer. In addition, Greene County staff and the WCO partnered on a dye trace investigation of the new sinkhole, which revealed it is in the recharge area of Fulbright Springs--a major water source for our community! There is not yet a happy ending to this story, but Greene County is striving to resolve the situation.
Mike Kromrey, Executive Director
Eat for Equity
The Friday night (July 13th) Eat for Equity benefit for the Watershed Committee was fresh and fun. The avant-garde fundraiser brought about 75 people together to eat, drink, and network in low-key, Rountree Neighborhood style. Co-hosts Will Chiles and Ashley Filmore, along with their professional chef friends, put together a summer feast that was bar none. I can still taste the cantaloupe mint sorbet!
Mike Kromrey, Executive Director
Big Urbie Grant Update:
The Big Urbie grant has had a busy spring! On April 4th, the city of Springfield planted twenty-two trees along the Jordan Creek riparian corridor in West Meadows, between Main and Grant street. Species included Tulip Poplar, Swamp White Oak, Bald Cypress, European (Black( Alder, and Red Buckeye. These native trees will function as a "green" stormwater management practice to help reduce and treat pollutants commonly found in urban stomrwater runoff, before it drains into the stream.
On May 15th, the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks, Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC), Ozark Greenways, James River Basin Partnership and the city of Springfield partnered to create an education mural along the Ozark Greenways trail in Fassnight Park. OTC's Fine Arts student, Karesse Wilkey, designed and painted the mural as part of an educational component of the Big Urbie grant. The mural is a reminder that our actions make a difference and every person can help keep our water clean! To learn more about the Big Urbie grant, visit www.bigurbie.org
Stacey Armstrong, Projects Manager
|Tristan Gumucio Donates a Year's Worth of Saved Coins to the WCO
Rey Gumucio, a lifelong advocate for clean water, generously donated to the Watershed Center Capital Campaign project. Water advocacy runs in the Gumucio family as his grandson, Tristan, also understands the importance of our water supplies and the Watershed Committee is honored to have their support.
Tristan, saved coins for one year so he too could donate to the Watershed Center. Tristan and Rey attended the Watershed Committee June 1st Monthly Meeting to give their donations to the Watershed Center. Executive Director Mike Kromrey proudly accepted the donations and commended Tristan on his year long effort to save coins to donate the Watershed Center. Tristan's donation is a testament to the Watershed Center's success of educating our youth about the importance of water and the natural environment.
|Watershed Center Update
We've had a very busy spring at the Watershed Center!
Students arrived by the busload for end-of-the-year field trips as an increasing number of area teachers have chosen the Watershed Center for a hands on educational opportunity for students. With the help of volunteers and partners, we have been able to host over six hundred elementary and middle school students since April.
The Onsite Wastewater Training Center has been used by Missouri Small Flows and Greene County for education and certification, as well as utilizing the C.W. Titus Education Facility for the classroom portion of their workshops. The C.W. Titus Education Facility is also being used by groups such as the Healthy Living Alliance, City Utilities of Springfield, James River Basin Partnership, Audubon and the Missouri Master Naturalists for their retreats, meetings, and workshops.
Are you riding your bike to the Watershed Center? We have bike racks at the C.W. Titus Education Facility and newly installed bike racks (designed by Kellie Herman) at the Lakeside Pavilion. Hike the trails while you are here!
We have been working diligently to keep the trails free of brush and branches and treating poison ivy and other invasive species to insure a pleasant hiking experience and to encourage a rich and healthy ecosystem. Along with surface vegetation management, the Missouri Department of Conservation has been working to open areas and pathways through the aquatic vegetation, to increase fish movement and fishing opportunities.
With low water levels this summer, it is especially important to control algae growth. To remove some of the nutrients algae rely on, we have been creating floating wetlands, which act as a natural water filter. City of Springfield Storm Water Services held a workshop on how to build these wonderful structures. Imagine a raft with a garden growing on top with the roots underwater. we have been experimenting with different designs and locations, so be sure to come out and see one up close!
With these projects underway and the school year rapidly approaching, we expect things at the Watershed Center to stay exciting! As always, if you would like to volunteer, schedule a field trip or have questions about the Watershed Center, call or e-mail me, Rob Hunt, Watershed Center Coordinator, at the C.W. Titus Education Facility
Keeping up with the Watershed Committee