PROTECTING OUR WATERWAYS
Clark County’s streams and rivers are important amenities that wonderfully compliment our fantastic parks and recreational opportunities. Where else can you start the day fly-fishing for trout and end it kayaking in whitewater? If fighting rapids isn’t your speed, a leisurely float down the Mad River, or bike ride along Buck Creek, might suit you. When properly utilized these waterways play a key role in a healthy ecosystem, along with adding to the economic impact parks have on our community. Like anything else though, our streams and rivers demand maintenance if we want to continue to benefit from them economically and recreationally.
We all have a responsibility to care for Clark County’s waterways. National Trail maintains 12 miles of waterways throughout Clark County which includes all of Buck Creek, portions of the Mad River, Beaver Creek and other smaller waterways. National Trail works with the Springfield Conservancy District and others to remove tires and debris, reforests stream banks, remove invasive plant species and establishes native prairies along the streams’ edges. The average person can help by limiting the amount of stormwater pollution reaching the streams. When it rains, it’s as if the landscape gets a bath and all those dirt and chemicals are washed off. They end up, however, in Clark County’s streams. You can easily help though! Don’t litter or over apply lawn fertilizers and chemicals. And one of the biggest things you can do, especially if you live in Springfield, is to direct as many downspouts as possible to an area where rainwater will soak into the ground rather then run off to the street.
Keeping rainwater out of the sewer system is one of the most pressing issues facing Springfield. Much of the city’s sewer was designed with pipes of a limited volume. When it rains, the amount of stormwater entering the sewer sometimes exceeds the volume of the pipes and raw sewage mixed with stormwater can overflow into waterways. Though Springfield’s sewer, like many other cities’ sewers, was designed to overflow, the EPA has mandated that the overflows be reduced. And we should reduce overflows. Springfield recently completed a project that allows the wastewater treatment plant to treat 140 million gallons a day and greatly reduced the overflows into Mad River. The City of Springfield’s next step is to create a strategy to reduce the roughly 50 annual overflows along Buck Creek, Mill Run and Mill Creek. Meeting EPA’s mandate is a long way off, but Springfield is moving forward and trying to be a good steward of the waterways we are so lucky to have.
become a WHITEWATER WARRIOR
Boasting the state’s first whitewater course and playboating areas, Springfield is the place to paddle. Buck Creek offers recreational boaters the opportunity to experience whitewater throughout greater Springfield. Buck Creek has something for every boater and every skill level – from the beginner learning to navigate moving water to the advanced playboater working on the latest freestyle moves. With the completion of three distinct dam-modification sites, boaters can paddle nine whitewater features.