A $740,000 grant announced today by Gov. Jay Nixon and Department of Natural Resources Director Sara Parker Pauley will help improve water quality at the Lake of the Ozarks. The grant to the Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance (LOWA) will be used to help reduce stormwater runoff that carries pollutants to the Lake by encouraging landscaping techniques that minimize runoff. The Governor and Director Pauley were joined by LOWA representatives and area officials at today's announcement at the Bagnell Dam scenic overlook.
"We all recognize the importance of a healthy Lake of the Ozarks to our economy and our quality of life," Gov. Nixon said. "This grant will help address the issue of stormwater runoff, and the effect it has on water quality at the Lake."
The Lake of the Ozarks project is one of three grant projects announced today by the Governor; the other grants will assist projects at Hinkson Creek in Columbia and Table Rock Lake. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, through the Department of Natural Resources, is providing funding for the projects under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. The grants are used to reduce stormwater runoff pollution, sometimes referred to as nonpoint source pollution. The department's Water Protection Program will administer the grant funds.
"There is nothing but continued growth projected for the Lake of the Ozarks," Director Pauley said. "Steps made possible by this grant will prepare the region for that growth while protecting the water quality of the Lake."
The project will focus on stormwater runoff pollution in the Buck Creek and Lick Branch sub-watersheds. The sub-watersheds begin at Bagnell Dam and encompass the first 18.8 miles of the Lake's main channel, as well as coves. This area was chosen largely because it is the most urbanized area of the Lake. It includes Osage Beach, Lake Ozark, Laurie, Sunrise Beach, and the Village of the Four Seasons.
Because of the increasing population, development and recreational use, as well as changes in physical landscape, several non-point source water quality concerns have arisen, including sediment, nutrient and bacteria loading.
The grant announced today will allow LOWA and its partners to reduce nutrients, sediment and bacteria that can harm water quality by using common low-impact landscape practices. These include:
- Providing educational opportunities to learn about watershed issues, low-impact landscapes, proper on-site wastewater treatment maintenance, and shoreline stabilization;
- Providing a cost-share incentive program for property owners to implement low-impact landscape best management practices and to perform on-site wastewater treatment pump-outs; and
- Making low or phosphorus-free fertilizers available to consumers around the Lake and encouraging property owners to keep their on-site wastewater treatment systems up to code.
LOWA and its partners will provide a match contribution of $495,770 over the life of the project, bringing the total cost of the project to $1.2 million. The project is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2014. Contributing partnerships in this effort include local retailers, businesses, consulting firms, AmerenUE, the University of Missouri Extension, Camden County Planning and Zoning, Lakes of Missouri Volunteer Program, Missouri Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program, Master Gardeners, and citizen volunteers.