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Watershed enters its 4th decade of protecting Springfield's water

The Watershed Center education building at Valley Water Mill in Springfield, MO (photo taken February, 2024).
Michele Skalicky
The Watershed Center education building at Valley Water Mill in Springfield, MO (photo taken February, 2024).

The organization, headquartered at Valley Water Mill, is kicking off a capital campaign.

Watershed – formerly Watershed Committee of the Ozarks – is celebrating 40 years, and the nonprofit is kicking off a campaign to allow it to do even more to protect water quality and educate the public.

Watershed has spent the last four decades protecting the water in the Springfield, MO area – the last several years at its location at Valley Water Mill.

Watershed’s Executive Director Mike Kromrey said it’s now time to look at what it’s going to take to protect our water for the next 40 years.

“And that’s what this campaign is about," he said. "We recognize that, to meet the challenges and opportunities in front of us, we need to scale up. We need to build capacity. The population is increasing, and the climate is changing, and we have a really good sense of how to apply our resources of maximum benefit, what is our biggest return on investment for water quality — bang for the buck.”

Watershed’s goal is to raise $2 million to support its programs and infrastructure at the Watershed Center.

Kromrey said they want to make sure that Fellows Lake is accessible to everyone. Watershed operates the store and dock there and educates lake users about invasive species like zebra mussels and hydrilla as well as protecting the area’s water.

The organization is also discussing the possibility of adding a new building at the Watershed Center for education. And they want to build capacity in some of their programs like the Watershed Conservation Corps and Watershed Natives.

The Hatch Foundation has provided Watershed with a lead gift of $300,000 toward its $2 million goal.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.