Webb City lies in one of the most heavily mine-impacted corridors of the Tri-State Mining District and is home to the Trustees’ largest mine land restoration project. Using funding awarded by the Trustees, Webb City began acquiring remediated mine scarred lands in 2014. Including some mine lands already owned by the city, there is currently over 740 acres of former mine lands and adjacent areas being restored to prairie, wetland, and woodland habitat. Restoration of these lands consists of three components:
- Restoration using conventional means in areas where soils are fertile and capable of supporting native vegetation. Conventional restoration techniques include reintroducing prescribed fire, using herbicide to control invasive plants, and planting native prairie seed or riparian tree seedlings.
- Applying compost to increase fertility of areas with highly degraded post-remedial soil conditions. The compost is made by Webb City from a variety of organic waste products. Following the application of compost, conventional means of planting and establishing native prairie species are used to improve the habitat.
- Constructing and vegetating wetlands and riparian buffers along Center Creek and Ben’s Branch.
Restoration activities are currently underway in all areas. Department staff are involved in all aspects of this project from helping write management plans and designing monitoring regimes, to planting trees and conducting prescribed fires. When restoration is complete, a network of trails will be established allowing the public to enjoy hiking, bird watching, exploring nature, and other forms of passive recreational use.
The project kicked off in 2014, with an agreement signed between Webb City and the department, representing the trustees. During this first phase of the project, Webb City agrees to donate over 50 acres of land, and begin acquiring more properties in the mine impacted areas. These lands will be restored under future phases of the project. In the spring of 2014, the trustees began a pilot study regarding the use of compost to help revegetate highly degraded soils. The final report from this study is Effects of Composted Biosolids and Manure Applications for Prairie and Wetland Restoration on Remediated Mine Lands: Oronogo-Duenweg Mining Belt Site, November 2017.
In 2015, Webb City began acquiring mine impacted land from priority areas along Ben’s Branch, and Center Creek. During the summer of 2015, restoration activities began on areas with suitable topsoil, or wooded areas which were not disturbed during the mine waste clean-up. Webb City hired a full-time restoration manager to implement the activities.
In 2019, restoration began on highly degraded areas. Webb city began compost production and the first five acres of finished compost was applied. Over the next three years, close to 300 acres would be treated with compost to increase soil fertility and help establish prairie vegetation. As of 2021, 740 acres of mine impacted land has been either purchased from willing sellers, or donated by Webb City towards the restoration project.
- Cardinal Valley Natural Habitat Restoration Project: Final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment, July 2018
- Effects of Composted Biosolids and Manure Applications for Prairie and Wetland Restoration on Remediated Mine Lands: Oronogo-Duenweg Mining Belt Site, November 2017
- Partnering for Missouri's Prairies, Missouri Resources Magazine Winter 2017, page 8
For information about any upcoming events, public notices and opportunities for public comment relating to this project, visit What's New in NRDAR.
This project is made possible through the joint efforts of the following groups: