(2009) Pearson Creek Watershed - NPS and Water Quality Trends

Project Scope

This project involves a watershed-scale water and sediment study of Pearson Creek to address unknown toxicity and nonpoint pollution sources, including nutrients, metals, and bacteria, to support efforts to develop a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) by 2009.

Pearson Creek Watershed is located East of Springfield, Missouri and drains 61 km2 at its confluence with the James River (MDNR, 2004). The watershed is composed of mixed agricultural, urban, and forest land uses and there are  concerns that nonpoint and industrial releases may be degrading aquatic life in lower Pearson Creek (MDNR, 2005). In particular, macroinvertebrate communities are impaired in the stream segment below Jones Spring in the lower areas of Pearson Creek.

Jones Spring issues from karst fractures and receives runoff inputs from an urbanized section of Springfield. Drinking water supplies may also be at risk, since Pearson Creek discharges into the James River about 1 km upstream of the Blackman municipal drinking water intake and then flows into Springfield Lake (USGS, 2005). Pearson Creek is listed on the 303d list for unknown toxicity initiated by aquatic invertebrate species monitoring by City Utilities of Springfield.

This Pearson Creek study was the first OEWRI project to include microbial source tracking data.


This OEWRI water quality monitoring study's goal is to addresses:

  1. Water and sediment quality problems in the Ozarks,
  2. Watershed initiatives of the USEPA, and
  3. Water quality goals of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR).