Published in Fall 2012
Kiefer Creek was first brought to our attention by Steve Seyer – a visitor to Castlewood State Park who had looked into the water quality data on the creek. As we looked into the details on this watershed, we realized how unique and valuable Kiefer Creek is. Kiefer Creek is fed by springs, including one of the largest springs in St. Louis County. Many other suburban streams in the St. Louis area have been destroyed by overdevelopment in the watershed – creating a stream that is dry many days out of the year, until it rains and flash floods. Kiefer, because of it’s springs and groundwater recharge, flows every day of the year, and it does not flash flood nearly as bad as other local streams when it rains.
But Kiefer Creek was not without its problems too. Steve Seyer first looked into the creek’s water quality data because his dog was sick after swimming in the creek. The data he found was horrifying. The creek had levels of E.coli significantly higher than the levels considered safe by the EPA. Why was nothing being done about it? And who could help?
The answers to those questions are tied into complex details about national and state-wide clean water laws. But MCE was the right group to fix the problem. We began by assessing the regulatory structure that affected the creek – What were the tools available to us? Were all the relevant laws being followed? We achieved these goals in the first year of our work:
- Collected signatures showing that Kiefer Creek was used for swimming, leading to a warning sign was placed by the swimming area in Castlewood.
- All of the testing data on Kiefer Creek became publicly available
- Kiefer Creek was listed on the 303d List of Impaired Waters for bacteria and chloride
- We were awarded a grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to develop a watershed plan for Kiefer Creek.
We have done a lot since that first year.
This website and other efforts related to the Kiefer Creek Restoration Project are partially funded by the Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. MoDNR Subgrant G11-NPS-21.