For Immediate Release
Volunteers, City Employees Work to Restore Land Near Treatment Plant
About 150 City employees and volunteers in March and April planted 126 mature trees and 7,000 seedlings in a section of Wilson's Creek just north of the Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The plantings and subsequent installation of fence around the creek was part of a multi-agency effort by the City, Department of Conservation, Department of Natural Resources, James River Basin Partnership and Ozark Greenways to restore approximately two miles of stream bank and adjoining land around the treatment plant.
The land is owned by the City, but leased as pasture. It will eventually host a portion of Ozark Greenways trail. Care and maintenance of the trees will be provided by the City.
“Urban and agricultural land uses within the James River Basin had degraded significant portions of this section of land,” says Kelly Green, Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant superintendent. “In addition to the tree-planting event, we built over two miles of fence around the creek to keep cattle out of it.”
The goal of the project was to create a buffer around the stream bank, says Plant Biologist Stephanie Gott, who designed the restoration plan. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7 through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, provided partial funding for this project under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. The grant focuses on restoration and protection of selected riparian areas (sections of land around bodies of water) in the James River Basin.
Adequate and undisturbed vegetation is important to stabilize creek banks, provide erosion control, filter pollutants, slow the velocity of water entering the stream and offer temperature stabilization. When stream banks are bare of vegetation, there are no roots to hold the soil in place and take up pollutants. The restored landscape will provide water quality benefits for Wilson's Creek and ultimately the James River.
The Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant is capable of continually treating 42.5 million gallons per day of Springfield’s wastewater and 100 million gallons per day for short periods. The average daily flow at this time is approximately 35 million gallons per day. The plant is designed to produce a high quality effluent for discharge into Wilson’s Creek. The plant processes remove approximately 70,000 pounds of pollutants from the wastewater per day before it is discharged.
"The benefits of a healthy riparian corridor to streams are well-documented, and these corridors are crucial to stream health and water quality," said Joe Pitts, executive director of the James River Basin Partnership. "This project will provide long-term benefits to Springfield and the James River."