Grant program winding down

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Shoal Creek Watershed Improvement Group has grant funds available for a limited time for repair, replacement or pumping services needed to correct failing septic systems.

"Eligible landowner costs-share for septic pumping or repair or replacement of a home sewage treatment system ranges from 50 to 75 percent," said Drew Holt, project coordinator with the Elk River and Shoal Creek watersheds. "The grant will also pay 100 percent of the costs of having the landowner's private well water tested for the presence of bacterial contamination."

In 2007, the Missouri Department of Conservation had determined that 25 miles of streams in the upper Shoal Creek Watershed were impaired due to excess fecal coliform bacteria.

"The term 'impaired' to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) means these streams did not meet their designated uses," Holt said.

"DNA tracking research conducted by the University of Missouri in a study from 2001 to 2003 determined the sources of bacteria in these streams come from three primary sources: humans, cattle and poultry," Holt said. "Horses, dogs, goats and wildlife are also sources of bacteria in streams."

Shoal Creek Watershed Improvement Group's proposed watershed management plan urges common sense actions by all landowners to reduce bacteria and nutrients from all sources to streams through the voluntary and effective use of best management practices.

In addition to septic system maintenance, repair and replacement, the watershed management plan promotes shaded off- stream watering sources for livestock in pastures adjacent to streams, fertilizer application based on soil tests and pasture/crop needs and public education and outreach for greater community involvement to improve and protect stream water quality.

The upper Shoal Creek Watershed is the land area draining northwestern Barry County to Shoal Creek and its main tributary streams.

"Generally, the watershed is located south of Monett, west of Purdy and Butterfield, north of Exeter and east of Wheaton," said Holt.

For more information on the water quality improvement plan and grant funding available, call Holt at 417-838-1939 or Shoal Creek Watershed Improvement Group's board president Dr. Eugene Miekley at 417-652-7214.

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