Water Protection Program
Section 319 Project Examples
- Information and Education
- Water Quality Monitoring/Assessment
- Watershed Management Plans
Project Title: Our Watersheds, Our Homes: Building on the Watershed Atlas Concept
Sponsoring Organization: Bryant Watershed Project Inc.
Grant Number :G04-NPS-17
Our Watersheds, Our Homes builds on the successes of the original Bryant Watershed Atlas Project, by incorporating the community, particularly middle school students, into the process of expanding the Atlas to cover North Fork, Eleven Point and Upper Spring River Watersheds. With many pages of background information already in the Atlas, the project concentrates on a participatory creative process that builds watershed awareness through direct experience.
In 2004, the Department of Natural Resources awarded Bryant Watershed Project Inc. a subgrant for the Our Watersheds, Our Homes 319 Project in the amount of $155,918 with a minimum match of $107,209. This project is scheduled to end June 14, 2007.
A volunteer group called Team Watershed has been educated about water quality, stream habitats and dynamics, and NPS pollution. Team Watershed works with local schools on classroom projects and field trips. Volunteer driven, multidisciplinary education programs are offered to teachers in 20 school districts serving more than 15,000 students. An Educator Advisory Group assists in design of the educational programs, the selection and adaptation of curriculum materials and the evaluation of the programs.
In April 2006, Our Watersheds, Our Homes website was featured as part of a Captain Planet online contest (www.captainplanetfdn.org/). The contest encouraged children to learn about the nonpoint source pollution that may be affecting their watershed by visiting www.watersheds.org/earth/nps.htm.
Thorough and ongoing evaluations of both the process and products are utilized to fine-tune the programs. Community outreach raises awareness of watershed and NPS issues particularly relevant in these watersheds, while recognizing students for their work. The entire process is documented to provide other watershed groups with a guide to follow for their own education efforts. Ultimately, the Atlas will have explored a sustainable model for locally produced watershed education using technology as a tool.
- Methods Employed
- Record “hits” to the new photo tours, distinguishing whenever possible those from the target area and local schools.
- Survey teachers to assess appropriateness of format and use of photographs.
- Pre- and post-tests of student participants’ understanding of watershed/NPS issues.
- Number of programs completed and number of students participating in programs.
- Number of volunteers successfully completing training courses.
- Number of team watershed presentations completed.
- Evaluation of volunteer presentations by mentors and teachers.
- Products Anticipated
- Atlas Additions:
- Map based photo tours of each watershed, with major tributaries using approximately 300 photos.
- Digital archive of approximately 500 photographs taken in the project area for student, volunteer, and teacher use. Topics may include but are not limited to animal and plant life; geographic and geological features; examples of NPS: sedimentation, bank erosion, cattle in steams, poor management practices; examples of construction BMPs, residential waste treatment, logging, and agriculture. And finally, sets of close-up photographs at specific sites (such as parks or school yards) for observation and mapping activities.
- Three researched and illustrated stories on BMPs addressing the target NPS pollutants and categories for the project.
- “How-to Atlas” guide section published on the Atlas and available in PDF format documenting the project process, outcomes, and learning as a resource for other watershed and conservation groups.
- Atlas Additions:
- Volunteer Training and Support:
- 30 volunteers enrolled for the educational programs.
- Three days (18 hours total) of orientation on watershed awareness, karst topography, and local NPS issues, as well as on place-based education and the Atlas project.
- Mentoring of volunteers by the Advisory Group as they prepare presentations.
- Annual evaluation and recognition event.
- Stream Days - Fifteen full days at non-school locations for 60 middle school children each day: 1500 students and 64 volunteer days total.
- Team Watershed - 132 classroom/outdoor presentations: 4080 student contacts.
- Art Stream - Eight projects engaging 960 students during the course of the school year.
- Community Outreach:
- Public “ground breaking” ceremonies to mark the beginning of the “Our Watersheds, Our Homes” Project.
- Community celebrations for each Art Stream Project, including exhibits of the student’s work.
- Six multi-media presentations by students to public groups on watershed and NPS topics.
- Educator Advisory Group meetings six times a year.
- Cooperators include the local 4-H, MoWIN, MSU and local schools.
Project Title: James River Watershed 319 Project
Spnsoring Organization: James River Basin Partnership
Grant Number: G02-NPS-01
Flowing through the heart of the Ozarks, the James River is approximately 75 miles long. The James River watershed covers parts of seven counties and 931,000 acres. The James River is also a major tributary to Table Rock Lake, an economically important recreational lake. A major part of the James River is considered impaired due to excess nutrients.
In 2001, the James River Basin Partnership (JRBP) was awarded the James River Watershed 319 Project subgrant in the amount of $626,350 and with a minimum match of $46,100 provided by JRBP with the remaining match of $371,467 provided through state cost share programs from partnering Soil and Water Conservation Districts. The primary objectives of this project were to:
- Address nutrient problems in the watershed by installing best management practices (BMPs),
- Implement an information/education campaign throughout the watershed.
- BMP Implementation:
- Riparian Corridors. Over 22 miles of riparian corridor were enhanced, covering 1,501 acres of the watershed.
- Well Closings. Many abandoned wells and cisterns were hand-dug and large enough to threaten personal safety and water quality. Using appropriate materials to fill and seal these wells, 20 were decommissioned.
- Woodland Protection. 664 acres of existing woodland were fenced to exclude livestock from causing grazing damage and soil erosion due to reduced ground cover.
- Agricultural Nutrient Management Plans. Plans were prepared for 24 farmers in the watershed.
- Pasture Improvement and Planned Grazing. These conservation plans were a combination of vegetative and mechanical practices, along with farmer education that was unique to each farm. 5,633 acres of planned grazing systems and 10,422 of pasture improvement were completed.
- Information and Education Campaigns
- Clean Water Kids. JRBP and partners hosted multiple field trips, educational presentations, and hands-on activities related to water quality issues in the James River Basin. Over 5,500 students participated in these programs. Also, countywide watershed festivals were held in Taney and Christian counties for all 5th grade students.
- River Rescue. The River Rescue began as a clean-up effort with the Ozark Mountain Paddlers. Now the event has evolved into a four-phase event. The kick-off is a three-day Bass Pro Garage Sale for Conservation with part of the proceeds going to fund JRBP water quality programs along with educational displays throughout the sale. Next, a watershed festival is held along with a clean-up float trip. Over 4 tons of trash and 350 tires have been removed from the James River since 2002. Finally, a benefit concert is held on the banks of the Finley River.
- Project Participant Meetings. JRBP hosted over 40 membership, project participant, and JRBP board meetings throughout the project. These meetings helped to increase stakeholder involvement and education.
- Promotion of Smart Growth. The City of Ozark and JRBP hosted a conference “Innovative Conservation Design for Stormwater Management in the Ozarks” in spring 2005. Dr. Gerry Wilhelm and James Patchett of Conservation Design Forum from Chicago provided examples of how alternative conservation design techniques can be successfully implemented in all types of development. Over 80 professionals attended from local, state and federal agencies, private engineering and architect firms, and non-for-profit environmental groups. Eighty-one percent of participants felt the techniques were feasible to implement and 94 percent were interested in similar workshops in the future.
- websites and Toll-Free Hotline. The JRBP (www.jamesriverbasin.com) and River Rescue (www.riverrescue.net). websites were created and maintained to dispense water quality and 319 project information. Over 10,000 visitors have viewed both websites. JRBP’s toll-free water quality hotline (1-888-924-WATER) provides an easy way for individuals to learn about events or programs. Citizens call the hotline an average of over 50 times per month.
- Public Outreach and Education. Over 35 groups and over 8,000 individuals have attended educational presentations, workshops, demos, and field days related to water quality in the region.
- Television Public Service Announcements (PSAs). Throughout this project several television PSAs were created to promote the River Rescue, septic tank maintenance, fertilizing responsibly, and stormwater runoff reductions. These announcements have reached over 300,000 individuals in the region. Over 50 percent of participants in programs like Get Pumped and Get Tested learned about the programs through these PSAs.
- Current Newsletter and Informational Brochures. The Current newsletter provides water quality information, program updates, and upcoming events to over 1,500 readers quarterly. Over 50,000 informational brochures and materials were created and distributed on topics including sinkhole protection, septic tank maintenance, and responsible urban lawn care practices.
- Get Pumped. Participants receive a site visit to evaluate the condition of their septic system and educate them. Over 25 percent of project participants did not regularly maintain their septic systems. Ninety-nine percent of participants stated they would now maintain their system on a regular basis. Over 300 individuals participated removing an estimated 300,000 gallons of septic effluent.
- Get Tested. Participants received a site visit to evaluate the condition of lawn, a free soil test, and education about fertilizing responsibly. Seventy-three percent of participants did not test their soil before applying fertilizer to their lawns. Soil test results from all lawns tested indicated that 40.5 percent needed no additional phosphorus and another 22.4 percent required only a small maintenance application. Ninety-five percent of participants found the nutrient management plan easy to understand and follow with 86 percent indicating they had changed their lawn care practices.
Project Title: Statewide Lake Assessment Project
Sponsoring Organization: University of Missouri – Columbia
Grant Numbers: G00-NPS-19 & G06-NPS-16
Most Missouri lakes are shallow artificial reservoirs built in the past 30 to 60 years, in valleys previously altered by agriculture (row crop and managed pasture), forest harvest and human settlement. The physical features of these lakes combined with the land use within their watersheds favor high concentrations of nutrients and phytoplankton, low water clarity and long periods of anoxia in deeper waters. Historic information shows that about 70 percent of Missouri reservoirs are eutrophic or hypereutrophic.
Previous data gathered from the statewide lake assessment shows that in many reservoirs’ water clarity is further reduced by high concentrations of suspended sediments delivered from nonpoint source erosion in the watershed and from disturbances of bottom sediments. Given these factors, in the typical Missouri lake, the water is often not clear enough to meet national guidelines for “safe” swimming, and high levels of algae and sediment increase the difficulty of potable water treatment. Plankton communities in these productive lakes are dominated by blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria), a group associated with water quality problems such as taste and odors, allergic reactions in swimmers, and toxin production. Continued monitoring of lake water resources for nutrients and suspended sediment is a key component of environmentally sound management.
The Statewide Lake Assessment Project collected water samples for six summers. Lake water samples and water quality data was collected from approximately 60 lakes throughout the state. Lakes were selected each spring. These lakes represent the full range of size, use, and geographical location in Missouri. Within a given season, 40 reservoirs are sampled that are considered of primary importance. This list includes the largest lakes, representative lakes from each physiographic region, and those used extensively for recreation (e.g., Little Dixie). Each lake is assessed annually, providing the state with a continuous monitoring of key resources.
Each spring an additional 20 to 25 lakes were selected from a secondary lake list. Secondary lakes were selected on the basis of their present water quality, sampling history (an effort is underway to gather at least 6 seasons of data from each lake in the study), emerging problems, and concerns expressed by state resource employees. This approach to annual sampling was developed with input from a statistician and provides flexibility in the annual sampling protocol, while being a cost-effective way to assess water quality in a large number of lakes and provide long-term data.
Assessment occurs from mid-May through mid-August, with each sampling circuit lasting three weeks (period required to collect one sample from each lake, about 20 per week). This schedule will be repeated four times so that water quality during the summer season is documented. Trained university students who work in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences completes fieldwork. The field crew collects samples (composited from the lake surface as is standard practice in cross-system regional lake studies) and makes basic water quality measurements such as Secchi transparency, temperature and oxygen profiles. A laboratory crew processes all samples at the university’s limnology laboratory using standard research-level procedures. Parameters measured include total nitrogen, total phosphorus, algal chlorophyll, total suspended solids (measure of sediment), turbidity, conductivity and dissolved organic carbon.
- Determine the current water quality of Missouri’s lakes.
- Quantify the factors regulating water quality in Missouri’s lakes.
- Monitor for long-term changes in water quality in individual lakes.
- Measures of Success
- Success of our first objective is measured by the collection of water samples from 60 lakes monitored four times during the summer sampling season (mid-May to mid-August). Success is also gauged by the timely processing, analyses, compilation and dissemination of these data. Nutrient, algal chlorophyll, suspended sediment, and water clarity data was added to the historic Missouri lake data set. The expanded data improves our ability to quantify functional processes of Missouri’s lakes and recommend management practices.
- Success of the second objective is evaluated by the continued refinement of our understanding of the ecology of Missouri lakes which has resulted in a peer reviewed paper quantifying lake processes that directly benefits management approaches.
- At the end of each sampling season, data from individual lakes is combined with historical data to assess long-term trends. Any identified trends are reported to department staff and the appropriate managing entity (MDC, Corp of Engineers, etc.) At the end of this project the final report will detail trends in water quality showing lakes that are unchanged, improving, or degrading over time.
- Other methods of evaluating success include the annual meeting with department staff to review data quality.
Currently under developement