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The Year in Review–October 1, 2012–September 30, 2013
Ongoing Implementation Programs and Activities
As with many organizations our fiscal year ended on September 30, 2013. The information that follows is an incomplete summary of a year in the life of our staff, volunteers and board of directors. Since 2006 the James River Basin Partnership (JRBP) has received or participated in 12 grants from federal and state agencies. The 12 grants brought $2,761,675 in direct funding that was matched by another $1,287,784 of indirect funding for a total of $4,067,459. All of this money has been spent locally within the James River Basin to accomplish the mission and vision of JRBP.
A long time ago when I first studied economics in college I heard a rule of thumb that stated “one dollar spent in a local economy will generate at least $3 in economic activity.” Based on this 1 for 3 formula, over the past 7 years JRBP has added approximately $12,202,377 in value to the local economy. Not bad for a small group of professional river stewards and a volunteer board of directors. The point here is that communities that invest in their not-for-profit groups will experience a huge return on their investment. I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank our local partners and funders, our Board of Directors and our citizen volunteers for the high level of support that they provide to JRBP. Your support is deeply appreciated.
The information below is a snapshot of the good work toward stewardship of the James River that your support makes possible. We encourage you to help us build our individual, business and corporate membership numbers to a point that makes JRBP sustainable regardless of the status of federal and state grant support. Please feel free to call me if you would like to discuss ways you can support the programs and activities of JRBP.
Septic Pump Out Program—We offer a $50.00 incentive for individuals who are a first time participant in the pump-out program. Each homeowner is visited by James River Basin Partnership (JRBP) representative and given a packet of educational information. Individuals eligible for this program include residents of the James River Basin. We are nearly out of grant funds for this program and unless new sources of funds are found we will be unable to continue this very popular program.
Completed 159 Septic Reimbursements and informed 265 households about septic systems.
Urban lawn-testing Program—A JRBP representative collects a soil sample from the lawn participants. Soil sample is analyzed by state soil testing laboratory. JRBP prepares an urban nutrient management plan (NMP) for the homeowner so they have a proper fertilizer plan for their yard based on a soil test. Individuals eligible for this program include Branch Level members of the James River Basin Partnership, currently however there are 2 grants that provide the service for free to homeowners located in Springfield City limits or Pearson Creek watershed. Each participant also receives information/education materials during the site visit.
Completed 32 NMP for homeowners.
Rain Barrel Sales—Approximately 190 diverter kits rain were sold as a part of the Rain Barrel program. This program provides rebates for residents of Greene County in partnership with City of Springfield Public Works, Greene County Resource Management and City Utilities. In addition to having the kits available at Habitat for Humanity ReStore and Smiling Sun, this year JRBP and Rain Reserve in partnership with Bass Pro hosted a Rain Barrel Truckload Sale.
The 190 Rain Reserve Diverter Kits sold translates to 247, 55 gallon barrels placed into service. This translates to 13,585 gallons of rain water harvested per rain event.
Riparian Protection and Restoration—Funded since 2009 by a federal Clean Water Act Section 319 grant through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources this program seeks voluntary donations of conservation easements on the riparian zone along the James River and its tributaries. We now have more than 12 miles of finalized riparian corridor easements in the basin. The revised grant goal is 10 miles of easement.
Based on modeling done by the Ozarks Environmental and Water Resources Institute (OEWRI) at Missouri State University the established easements prevented 3,902 tons of soil per year from entering the James River as sediment and concurrently prevented nearly 1.5 tons of phosphorus from entering the river as nutrient for algae.
Riparian Corridor Restoration- (1) staff and volunteers planted nearly 5,000 trees along both sides of a stretch of Wilsons Creek (approx. 2 miles) to restore the banks. This area has also been placed in a conservation easement as a part of the Riparian 319 grant. (2) Nearly 2,500 trees were planted at the Pinetum in the Pearson Creek watershed in conjunction with the Show-Me Yards, Neighborhoods, Farms and Ranches (SMYNFR) section 319 grant.
Conservation Easement—Coordinated appraisal and survey of property to finalize an agreement to acquire and establish a perpetual easement on 2.0 miles of Wilsons Creek in Greene County as well as on approximately 2.0 miles of the James River at Rivercut Golf Course. Cattle Fencing Project —The Riparian Easement Grant paid $48,000 for nearly 2.0 miles of fencing to keep cattle away from the Wilson’s Creek riparian easement and approximately $12,000 for rehabilitation of a well on the property as an alternative water supply for the cattle. Rain Gardens—7 rain gardens have been planted in the Pearson Creek watershed through the SMYNFR grant.
Storm Drain Reveal—For the 3rd year in a row, JRBP contracted with the City of Springfield to hold Storm Drain Reveal. This event assists the City of Springfield with the requirements in their storm water permit. JRBP staff worked with local artists to paint 10 storm drains located downtown. A brochure was developed and artwork was featured at the First Friday Artwalk & Artsfest in Springfield, MO. The program continues to gain national attention and has been duplicated in several cities around the county.
River Rescue—The River Rescue normally conducted on the first Saturday in June was postponed due to flooding on the James River. The event was rescheduled for October 5 and again had to be cancelled due to heavy thunderstorms. An intrepid band of “unofficial” river cleaners went ahead with a cleanup on October 5 and were able to collect an impressive array of trash from the Finley River. Pictures of this unofficial River Rescue cleanup are available on our website and Facebook pages. The 2014 River Rescue is scheduled for Saturday June 7. The location for the cleanup will be selected and posted at a later date.
Dam Jam Downtown – This event was held for the 15th year and the second time on the Square in downtown Springfield. The event was the most successful Dam Jam to date with 3-4 thousand participants.
Earth Day Lake Springfield—Conducted the first annual Joe Klieber Memorial Earth Day Clean Up at the Southwood Access, with over 65 volunteers and approximately 1 ton of trash removed from Lake Springfield. This event has been held for many years and Joe was present at each of those years.
Adopt-A-Highway—JRBP volunteers removed 50 bags of trash from our 1 mile stretch of highway in Stone County during the spring and fall clean-up.
County Wide Watershed Festivals—About 1,100 5th grade students from schools in Christian County attended November watershed festivals that teach about water quality and conservation, including storm water issues. The goal is to provide a fun interactive educational component so each student can better understand point and non-point source pollution and how it relates to water quality.
Workshops/Conferences/Presentations/Booths—During the past year staff members:
1. Conducted 6 Board of Director’s Update Presentations.
2. Supported the Board of Director’s successful “Re-member” membership campaign.
3. Presented information about JRBP programs at the 319 Non-Point Source two-day workshop
4. Gave a tour of Green Circle’s storm water features to the Stormwater for Educators class.
5. Presented information about JRBP programs to graduate students in MSU ecology course
6. Presented information about JRBP to the Christian County Master Gardeners group
7. Presented information about JRBP at the annual River Rally Conference in St. Louis
8. Presented information about JRBP to the Ozark Rotary Club
9. Presented information about JRBP during the legislative “Clean Water Duck Tour” in Branson
10. Presented information about the Blueway Designation to the Greene County Commission
11. Presented aquatic biology information during a Jordan Creek Underground tour for Ozark Greenways members and board
12. Presented information about JRBP during the Watershed Center education day
13. Staffed display booths at approximately 10 area events
14. Held 2 SMYNFR workshops, one for homeowners and one for professionals.
15. Presented Rain Barrel information followed by a rain barrel workshop to the Greene County Master Gardeners
16. Interface “B” conference for teachers of math and science presenter and steering committee member
17. Participated and presented at the 2013 GLADE event
18. Gave presentations to approximately 8 elementary schools.
19. Presented information about native plants to Ozark Master Naturalists
20. Presented information about JRBP to the sales staff of Major Brands in conjunction with the St. James Winery fundraising campaign
Members Meetings—Two members only meetings were held this year. One was held in March at Jude Ranch and the other was a Jordan Creek Underground tour held in downtown Springfield.
Board of Directors Membership Campaign- Led by Martin McDonald, over $40,000 raised
Blueways Meetings—Little Rock and Branson
Attorney General Meeting—Non-profit issues focus group for Attorney General Koster
St. James Winery—As a result of a newly created partnership the winery will donate a portion of the proceeds from regional wine sales to JRBP during a 3 month period.
Cause Momentum—JRBP’s first participation in a Cause Momentum project successfully raised $900 for River Rescue.
Dime-a-Glass Program—Raised approximately $600 during 3-month pilot period with restaurants managed by the English management group. Stay tuned for additional participating restaurants as we prepare for Phase II of this program.
Water Watch Week - in cooperation with Ozarks Water Watch, Watershed Committee of the Ozarks and Table Rock Lake Water Quality—“Celebrating Ozarks Waters Guarding our Treasure.” The week started with River Rescue and Dam Jam and a Clean Water Duck Tour (in Branson) for Elected Officials, with 7 other events to follow including a Water Quality Summit sponsored by Table Rock Lake Water Quality (TRLWQ).
1. JRBP general brochure-Focused on water quality issues of region
2. Rain Garden Guide
3. Septic tank maintenance brochure
4. Sinkhole protection brochure
5. Green Circle-Case Study
6. What Goes Down Does Come Around!
7. Rain Barrel program handout
8. Septic Tank folder-pumping record keeper
9. Urban Lawn folder-fertilizing record keeper
10. Storm Drain Reveal Brochure
11. Low Impact Development brochure
12. Pet waste handout
Outreach (See also workshops, conferences, presentations and booths ABOVE):
1. http://www.jamesriverbasin.com –The website has an average of 1130 visits per month and 2,162 page visits per month. Interesting stat: The biggest source of referrals (tracked links) to our website is from Facebook with half of those being accessed through the mobile site. The top 5 pages most visited besides the home page is Dam Jam, Storm Drain Reveal, River Rescue, Rain Barrels, and About Us.
2. Quarterly digital newsletter and updates sent out as needed.
3. Host 2 Facebook and one Twitter account.
4. Advertisements designed and printed in Greene Magazine 6 times a year.
5. Coordinated the development of a video PSA for the Dime A Glass Program
6. Coordinated the development of a television commercial for the DAM Jam Downtown
Service on Committees, Commissions and Work Groups
MSU Sustainability Advisory Committee
MSU Professional Masters in Science steering committee
DNR Kitchen Cabinet (non-profits)
Water Watch Week Planning Committee
Planning Committee for the 319 Non-Point Source Conference/Workshop
Springfield Stormwater Taskforce
Big Urbie Steering Committee
Board member of the Missouri Small Flows Organization
State wide Nutrient Reduction Task Force
Statewide Steering Committee for annual Interface Conference for teachers of math and science
Member of Multi-Basin Organization—A coalition of groups in Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri
Riparian Protection and Restoration—319—Active until July 2015
Contracted as a partner on the Big Urbie 319—Active until 2015
Show Me Yards Neighborhood, Farms and Ranches 319—Active until Feb. 2014—Grant extension is under development
Table Rock Lake-Septic Tank Pump Out -Fish and Wildlife Service and Missouri Department of Conservation, and the SMYNFR section 319 Grant.
Durng the year staff attended the following professional Development programs
River Rally Conference- Joe Pitts and Kellie Herman
Land Trust Coalition Annual Meeting-Joe Pitts
Big River Lives Conference-Joe Pitts
Missouri Natural Resource Conference- Tiffany Frey and Kellie Herman
Cause Momentum training workshop-Joe Pitts, Tiffany Frey
Attended the Nonprofit Communication Conference – All staff
Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS) State Certified Septic Installer 2 day training-Melissa Bettes
Springfield Environmental Summit—Joe Pitts
Environmental Assessment Course- Melissa Bettes, Tiffany Frey, and Kellie Herman
Permaculture Design Certification Course – Tiffany Frey
Missouri Smallflows Organization (MSO) training-Melissa Bettes
While this report does not capture each detail of staff activities and programs, it is a good snapshot of a typical work year at JRBP.
CALL NOW to participate in some of the amazing cost share opportunities that are available for individuals that live in specific areas inside the James River Basin !!!!
In March of 2012 JRBP was awarded a Pearson Creek Watershed Grant. This grant offers several awesome cost share opportunities for those living in the Pearson Creek Watershed and several for the residents in the entire James River Basin. But you need to act NOW, time is running out! We only have these great cost shares until February 2014. We have money for projects such as improving stream bank buffers; stream and woodland protection; exclusion of livestock; soil testing; fertilizer plans; pumping of your septic tank; native gardens; rain barrels; bioswales and much more.
Many of you might not be aware of how these simple practices can improve the health of our waterways and in turn bring a healthier environment for you and for generations to come. It’s simple; by using practices like these we prevent nutrients and soil from entering into our waters which turns the water green, murky, polluted and kills aquatic life.
So let us HELP YOU to protect YOUR waterways! Some of these cost shares are as high as 80% grant funded. You will be amazed at all the different opportunities you have right before you. Several individuals have already participated and have reaped the benefits by saving money and protecting their homestead which protects the watershed. But you have to CALL NOW to learn more.
Pearson Creek Watershed
If you are interested in more information on potential cost-share opportunities call or email Melissa Bettes at 417 836-4847; email@example.com or visit www.jamesriverbasin.com for more grant details!
This Show-Me Yards & Neighborhoods, Farm and Ranches grant is an extension of an already successful City of Springfield educational program designed to raise awareness about the role urban stormwater runoff that effects water quality of nearby streams, creeks, rivers, and lakes.
Missouri Department of Natural Resources Grants Identifying the Department in Grant Projects for Public Distribution G12-NPS-03, SMYNFR – James River Basin Partnership Subgrant agreement.
Did you know we have a page on our website with lots of great info about floating our local rivers? Check it out!
If you have never floated the James River take minute to read this News-Leader article by Wes Johnson . You might decide you might want to grab a canoe and give it a try.
James River Water Trail: Nearby 6-mile river path offers escape from pace of city life
A day on the James from Delaware Town to Hooten Town.
Maybe the third time would be a charm but instead, since 2014 is right around the corner we will opt for our regularly scheduled programming. This year marked the 15th anniversary of the River Rescue clean-up, a fantastic milestone. Normally the event is held in June but this June the water was dangerously high and despite the planning, donations, and willing volunteers, we had to cancel. Holding our 15th anniversary clean-up was important so we rescheduled for October 5th. The week before the float we were concerned that the water was going to be too low causing our wonderful volunteer canoeist to drag instead of float so we hoped for a little rain. Well, that week we got a little but then we got a lot and it came on the morning of October 5th. Despite our best efforts and completely out of our control the water levels began to rise rapidly with bolts of lightning in the sky. It turned out that safety won again and the event was cancelled. Sigh. However, we had also scheduled something new for that morning, A Breakfast on the Banks. Just as were facing the reality that the wet banks of the Finley River were not going to be hospitable for our breakfast, we got some good news. The Breakfast on the Banks was still able to be held only, thanks to Bass Pro Shops, it became Breakfast at the Historic Ozark Mill. The pancake grill arrived and was set up on the porch while a group of MSU volunteers helped us arrange the tables, chairs, tablecloths, dishes, flowers, napkins and fruit. The breakfast was delicious and the view was beautiful. Although our turnout was smaller than we planned we nonetheless had a group of people there to help us celebrate our rivers and our 15th Anniversary. Once the breakfast was over, a handful of folks, on their own accord decided to journey down the river collecting a surprisingly large amount of trash for just 5 boats. This included a full sized fridge that was loaded between canoes and floated down the river all in the cold and drizzle. So despite the weather we can unofficially say, mission accomplished!
We appreciate those that donated time, services and financial support for River Rescue and Breakfast on the Banks. Here’s to hoping the 16th anniversary flows a little more smoothly.
Permaculture, permanent agriculture or permanent culture – depending on who you ask, is many things to many people. It can be seen as a way of life, a system of design, a set of ethics, a way to integrate disciplines, an approach. In my own simple words, permaculture attempts to create the healthiest most productive environment possible for humans, plants, and animals alike. Permaculturist, Dan Hemenway said it like this, “Permaculture is Applied Science and Ecology; Ethical design of human systems for a sustainable future. It offers practical solutions to the global environmental and cultural crises we now face.” At times permaculture combines ecology, biology, agriculture, geography, gardening, and building science. Permaculture is a holistic look at a homesite, a farm, or a community; some even apply it to jobs and corporations. Permaculture looks for the connections, the deep often hidden connections, that when applied to design, develops into appropriate placement. Using permaculture ethics and applying design, techniques, and principals creates a perspective in which business, environmental, and personal decisions can be approached in order to increase the chances of achieving the best results. Obviously permaculture can be hard to define but can be a powerful tool when addressing issues surrounding water quality, air quality, and quality of life. One of my favorite principles of permaculture is “start small and go slow.” When learning new information it can be easy to become overwhelmed but it is increasingly evident that the application of permaculture design is imperative for our planet.
When explaining permaculture, a story is often told of a student who went to Bill Mollison, one of founders of Permaculture, complaining of an overabundance of snails in the garden and looking for a solution. Bill’s answer was not store bought bait or even to go snail hunting armed with salt and a flashlight but that, “you don’t have a snail problem, you have a duck deficiency.” This turns the problem into the solution. What thrives on snails and as a bonus can add nutrients to a garden? One thing permaculture does is first seeks to apply a natural solution to a problem to assist in restoring and maintaining natural balance. This is only a small example, a glimpse. The answer may not be the same for everyone. Workable solutions are very personal and based on need, location, skill and desire. The answer at my house may not be the right answer for you but the goal is to look at the problem differently so you can see patterns and to seek solutions.
Permaculture is not just gardening, it’s not just soil or water or animals, or even finances but it is all of those things and more. The potential permaculture methods, principals, and designs hold can be powerful and eye opening. I hope your interest has been peaked and you desire to learn more. I encourage you to keep permaculture in mind as we look to find those things that will heal ourselves and our planet.
To learn more:
Regular readers of the JRBP newsletter are aware that in partnership with Ozark Greenways Land Trust we have been since 2009 implementing a Riparian Restoration and Protection project funded by a Clean Water Act Section 319 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Briefly stated the focus of this grant is to establish and restore if needed a minimum 100 ft. undisturbed riparian buffer along as many linear miles of the James River and its tributaries as possible. To date we have been able to establish on private and public lands about 12 miles of donated perpetual easements on riparian areas in the James River Basin.
The protection and restoration of riparian areas is critical to improve and maintain the quality of water in springs, streams, rivers and lakes found in the James River Basin. The ecosystem services provided by these protected buffers will continue to provide perpetual ecological and economic benefits to the region.
If you or someone you know owns land along any portion of the James River or its tributaries I encourage you to read the blog post below and download the study (link in article). If you then decide that you would like to help protect the quality of water and land in the James River basin please feel free to contact me at 417-836-8878. Our grant has been extended until July of 2015 and we are actively seeking public or private landowners that are interested in this type of conservation program. The article below demonstrates that the James River Basin Partnership and Ozark Greenways are ahead of the curve with regard to basin-wide land and water quality protection.
Joe Pitts, Executive Director
This post is the first installment of our blog series, Nature for Water. In this series, we’ll explore the benefits, opportunities, and best practices of using natural infrastructure like forests to secure clean water.
Securing clean water is becoming increasingly difficult in the United States. Infrastructure like dams and treatment plants are aging, water demand is increasing, and more frequent extreme weather events like wildfires and flooding are driving up the cost of water management.
It’s a complex problem, but one of the potential solutions is decidedly low-tech: Invest in nature.
WRI’s new publication, Natural Infrastructure: Investing in Forested Landscapes for Source Water Protection in the United States, pulls together the insights of more than 50 authors from the front lines of efforts to integrate “natural infrastructure” into water management. Incorporating strategically secured networks of forests, wetlands, and floodplains to complement existing “built” infrastructure can reduce water-management costs and effectively secure clean drinking water.
The publication, co-edited with Earth Economics and Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, provides comprehensive guidance to help water utilities, municipalities, businesses, land management organizations, and other decision makers better manage their water systems by securing forests and other ecosystems. The guide paints a picture of the current “state of practice” of natural infrastructure investment, showing that there is ample opportunity for securing natural infrastructure for water and an expanding toolkit for doing so.
Natural Infrastructure: An Essential Tool for Securing Clean Water
Forests and other ecosystems provide proven benefits when it comes to water security. For example, forests have sturdy, long-lived roots that help to anchor soil against erosion. Multiple layers of vegetation help slow falling rain and reduce its erosive force. And forests also promote infiltration of water into the soil, minimizing flooding and allowing for nutrient uptake by vegetation and soil microbes.
There is widespread opportunity to integrate this natural infrastructure into traditional water management strategies, alongside built infrastructure like treatment facilities and mechanical chillers. In fact, several locales are already pursuing this option—with the potential to reap significant benefits.
For example, the water utility in Eugene, Oregon, already has sophisticated water treatment capabilities. However, in response to increased residential development along its drinking water source, it’s also investigating options to establish vegetated buffers that can shield streams and other upstream water sources from run-off and other land development impacts. This practice could preclude downward trends in source water quality, save the utility on treatment costs, and generate a number of co-benefits like quality wildlife habitat.
The water utilities on the Northern Front Range of Colorado have intricate systems of traditional infrastructure to provide high-quality drinking water. But in the face of catastrophic wildfire upstream, natural infrastructure options are increasingly critical. Wildfires in these utilities’ forested headwaters can cause massive sedimentation, which can clog water intakes, reduce reservoir storage capacity, and increase treatment costs. While robust “built infrastructure” is essential for managing these risks, Front Range utilities stand to save hundreds of millions by investing in measures like prescribed burning and mechanical thinning that reduce the occurrence of wildfire. Managing for fire risk also improves watershed function and reduces risk to local homes, wildlife, and fisheries.
How Do You Scale Up Natural Infrastructure for Water?
But despite a growing number of cities investing in nature for water, the strategy is still considerably underutilized. The reasons for this are varied. For example, water utilities have tight financial resources and competing demands for those resources. Many current financial accounting standards favor business-as-usual built infrastructure. But what it really comes down to is a lack of know-how on identifying opportunities, designing programs that use natural infrastructure, and implementing projects.
That’s where our new publication comes in. The report provides the insights, analysis, and case studies necessary to help all levels of water decision makers—from the newcomer to the expert—understand and implement natural infrastructure strategies for water. The guide helps create a “source water toolkit,” and offers critical local knowledge, relationships, and expertise. As managing water becomes increasingly complex and costly, decision makers must rely on all tools in their arsenal. Investing in forested landscapes is not only good for the balance sheets of utilities, municipalities, and businesses—it’s a solution with a wide array of direct benefits to communities across the United States.
LEARN MORE: Download our full report. And be sure to check back regularly for more installments of our blog series, Nature for Water, where we’ll highlight the benefits, opportunities, and best practices of using natural infrastructure to secure clean water.
Springfield Food Day Celebration Harvest Party is October 26th from 5pm-9pm at Farmers Park, 4139 S. Nature Center Way, Springfield, MO. Come see us!
St. James Winery fundraiser ends October 31st 2013. Just one more week to purchase St. James Wine and have proceeds go to JRBP! Wine is available at local Price Cutter stores and Brown Derby.
Stay tuned in our next issue for a list of new & renewed members!