Ozarks Watershed Committee receives grant to work with private landowners to improve water quality

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – A large grant from the United States Department of Agriculture will help the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks improve our waterways, working with local landowners.

After about six months of waiting, the Ozarks Watersheds Committee learned last week that it was receiving $ 2.1 million under the federal government’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program.

“This is the largest grant we have ever received, and we are delighted because this $ 2.1 million is part of a public-private partnership,” said Mike Kromrey, director of the Watershed Committee. “So it’s going to be about a 1-on-1 game. So it’ll be more like a $ 4 million project. “

The Watershed Committee and its nine partners will work with landowners and producers along the upper James River.

“So we consider it to be right above Lake Springfield. And so not only should this impact the health of Lake Springfield, but we get a lot of our drinking water from the upper James River, ”Kromrey says.

One of the grant partners is Greene County. “Everyone thinks we’re the regulator, but we’re also regulated by the federal government and the state,” says Tim Davis, Greene County’s environmental compliance manager. “So that helps us meet some of our water quality permitting requirements.”

To protect water quality, the project will help landowners plant trees along streams, install fences for rotational grazing, provide alternative watering for livestock, and install fences for rotational grazing. prevent cattle from entering rivers and streams.

“To help the streams heal, give them alternative watering sources, so they don’t have to have access to the streams, all on a volunteer basis,” Davis says. “So if they want to try to implement these practices, they can. If they don’t, they don’t have to. So it’s really a win-win for everyone. “

They will use models from existing projects, but the grant will allow them to provide the opportunity to more people and have a greater impact on the James River.

“The impacts we produce upstream can impact anyone,” says Kromrey.

The Watershed Committee says it will now begin a planning process of about a year to determine how to specifically use the grant.

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