Ever wonder what happens at JRBP during the winter months?
Everyone assumes that the life of a water conservation non-profit employee is one of always being streamside, or out and about throughout the community spreading our water message. While we are fortunate to spend more time on or near the water than most, a significant portion of our time largely resembles a desk job rather than the life of a field technician or outfitter. In fact, late fall through early spring is much-needed time spent in the office powering through grant and contract work, as well as to start arranging our spring and summer educational programs, board of director meetings, cleanups and special events for the coming year. Throw a good deal of day-to-day “housekeeping” and you have a snapshot into “a day in the life of JRBP”.
Recently we’ve been ramping up work on our Wilson’s Creek 319 Grant. In fact, we’re launching a new page on our web site dedicated to it so you can follow along with our progress. But what is a 319 grant? To put it simply, they are awarded through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources dealing with non-point source pollution and focusing on both riparian corridors and stormwater runoff. Our current 319 grant specifically deals with the Wilson’s Creek sub-watershed, the most urbanized area of the James River Basin, including much of the Springfield metropolitan area, as well as rapidly growing communities like Republic and Battlefield. The Wilson’s Creek watershed contains about 100 square miles in the two counties, as well as an estimated population of around 85,000. Projects under the Wilson’s Creek 319 Grant include plans to plant over 300 trees in riparian corridors or other designated areas; A Low Impact Development (LID) Green Infrastructure conference in the fall of 2019; our Lawn Steward Nutrient Management Plan program; Field days to showcase project areas to community leaders and the general public as well as other educational and outreach opportunities.
Besides the 319 grant, JRBP staff continues to work with the City of Springfield’s Department of Environmental Services to help provide various sustainability measures. Some projects include neighborhood outreach, our Lawn Steward and Rain Barrel Rebate programs and the city’s Yard Ethic Program; working with the Adopt-a-Stream and anti-littering initiatives, as well as general education and outreach about stormwater issues. In addition to Springfield, we provide to other communities within the basin such as Nixa, Ozark and Republic on similar projects.
Winter is also the time that we set the calendar of events for the upcoming year; look for a formal roll-out of the 2019 calendar on December 15! We have a wide variety of events for you to volunteer at, including our annual Earth Day, River Rescue and Adopt-A-Highway cleanups.
While A JRBP membership makes a great holiday gift, it’s always a good time to consider joining JRBP as an individual/family or business member. “Membership has its privileges” when it comes to VIP events such as special water-quality related tours, talks and of course, our annual membership float on the James!
And you can always participate in “The Last Straw” pledge that we rolled-out earlier this year as a way to encourage local businesses and individuals to reduce or eliminate their use of single-use plastics – straws, table-ware, cups, etc. Right now 17 Downtown and Commercial Street businesses have signed up; look for the special “Last Straw” stickers proudly displayed on their storefronts and thank them for their support!
We’ll see you downstream.