(2014) Asher Creek Watershed - 319 Project


The Asher Creek watershed is a 25,387 acre, 12-digit hydrologic unit in Greene and Polk Counties that is a sub-basin of the 390 square mile Little Sac Watershed. The Little Sac River Watershed including Fellows Lake, McDaniel Lake, and Stockton Lake make up the majority of the City of Springfield's public drinking water supply.

In 1998, the Little Sac River was placed on the 303d list for bacterial contamination, for which a TMDL for Fecal Coliform was approved in 2006. The Watershed Committee of the Ozarks (WCO) conducted water quality field work in the Asher Creek Watershed sampling primarily for bacteria from 2003 until 2007. In 2009, in a joint effort between the WCO and the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District (GCSWCD), a nine element watershed management plan entitled The Upper Little Sac Watershed Management plan was developed. The Upper Little Sac River plan covered the upper half of the Little Sac Basin, including the Asher Creek sub-basin and was accepted by Missouri Department of Natural Resources on July 8, 2010. In the Upper Little Sac Watershed Plan, data from several previous studies, including the Little Sac River TMDL and the Little Sac River Data Gap Analysis, were used to identify several priority sub-watersheds. Due to elevated E. coli levels, the Asher Creek Basin was identified as a priority area for BMP implementation and restoration in the Upper Little Sac Watershed Plan.

The Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District has implemented a Section 319 Grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency Region VII designed to reduce nonpoint source pollution in the Asher Creek Watershed in northern Greene and southern Polk Counties. To better understand the variability in the water quality of Asher Creek, the monitoring portion of this project was designed to address three questions. First, how do E. coli and total Coliform bacteria vary throughout the watershed and between seasons?  Secondly, how do bacteria concentrations compare to optical brightener (OB) concentrations that would indicate a potential municipal waste water source? Finally, what are the nutrient loads from this watershed to the Little Sac River that may be contributing to water quality degradation?


The purpose of this project is to identify the bacteria levels and to quantify the nutrient loads within the Asher Creek Watershed. The specific objectives of this project are; 1) establish six water quality monitoring stations throughout the watershed with two of those sites hydrologic monitoring stations, 2) collect and analyze regular time-interval grab samples from each station over an 18 month monitoring period for nutrients, bacteria, and OB, 3) describe the spatial and temporal variability in bacteria concentrations at these 6 stations, 4) compare OB and E. coli results that may indicate municipal waste sources, and 5) quantify the nutrient loads at the two hydrologic monitoring stations.




Missouri Department of Natural Resources

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region VII-Section 319