Deer Creek Watershed Alliance Wins Rain Bird Award For Intelligent Use Of Water

The Missouri Botanical Garden, along with Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District and the Missouri Department of Conservation, has been presented the 2009 Intelligent Use of Water State of the Union Award from Rain Bird, the leading manufacturer of irrigation products and services. The Garden is being recognized for the citizen-driven Deer Creek Watershed Alliance, which seeks to assess and improve the Deer Creek Watershed. The award recognizes city and state municipalities and water agencies that excel in implementing effective landscape water-efficiency programs and initiatives.

Deer Creek originates near Creve Coeur and flows southeast nearly 11 miles before it enters the River des Peres at Maplewood. It encompasses multiple municipalities including Ladue, Creve Coeur, Frontenac, Warson Woods, Glendale, Rock Hill, Brentwood, Webster Groves, Maplewood and Richmond Heights. The watershed includes Deer Creek, Two-Mile Creek, Sebago Creek, Shady Grove Creek and Black Creek.  Water quality in the Deer Creek Watershed is threatened by storm water runoff from impervious surfaces, debris and trash, sediments from the stream bed and bank erosion, pollutants associated with combined sewer overflows, and storm sewer discharges. As documented by the U.S. Geological Survey stream gauging stations, the streams within the Deer Creek Watershed tend to be flashy due to the amount of urbanization and high percentage of impervious surface in the area.

The Deer Creek Watershed Alliance includes both demonstration projects and citizen-led activities. A 2009 creek clean up drew 571 volunteers, who removed 4.87 tons (9,740 pounds) of debris from Deer Creek and its tributaries.   The 2010 public engagement project will feature a creek naming project to name more than 30 unnamed tributaries in the watershed, and an invasive species removal/tree planting project is slated for 2011.   In addition, the Deer Creek Watershed Alliance is installing three demonstration bioretention projects in partnership with Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District and one demonstration savanna restoration 5 acre park in partnership with Great Rivers Greenway District.  “The Garden is pleased to play an important role in advancing sustainability within the region,” said Deborah Frank, vice president of sustainability at the Missouri Botanical Garden. “The Deer Creek Watershed Alliance is a great opportunity to demonstrate the value of native plants in responding to our community storm water challenges.”

The www.deercreekfriends.net website has more information on how you can help improve your watershed.  There, you can sign up for the newsletter and receive updates, news, invites to special events, and access to great resources on how you can start making a difference today in your own backyard.