MDC assists Springfield marketplace with patio project

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – When people hear about "conservation economics," they may envision the financial benefits hunting and fishing provide to Missouri or the $3 billion dollars that timber harvests contribute to the state's economy annually.
They probably don't picture a brick patio amidst a cluster of businesses in an urban residential area.
However, a small outdoor gathering space in a neighborhood marketplace at the corner of Pickwick Avenue and Cherry Street in Springfield demonstrates how environmental stewardship can occur in an urban setting and have both conservation and economic benefits. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is one of several agencies that partnered with Owen Holdings, LLC of Springfield to fund a pervious brick patio at the site. The patio is one of several projects funded by the Springfield-Green County Urban Watershed Stewardship Grant. This grant, nicknamed "Big Urbie," is a $1.1 million federal grant awarded to the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks in 2011 by the U.S. EPA Region 7 through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources under the Clean Water Act. The $4,251 MDC provided for this project is in addition to this grant.
The 1,000-square-foot brick patio replaced impervious concrete paving that shed rainwater into the street gutter. The new pervious patio was constructed with pea gravel between the bricks instead of sand. This reduces the runoff flowing across the site; runoff that carries pollutants into nearby water sources. This reduction in runoff helps protect water quality, aquatic habitats and the water-related recreational opportunities (fishing, canoeing, etc.) that people enjoy
"Conservation has always been extremely important to my wife and I," said Ryan Owen, the owner of Owen Holdings. "We do whatever we can to protect our waterways."
The benefits of projects such as these go beyond diverting stormwater runoff according to MDC Community Conservation Planner Ronda Headland. She said there can also be economic ripple effects.
"Businesses benefit from an environmentally-friendly amenity that attracts and impresses nearby residents while creating a sense of place for the neighborhood," she said. "It increases the chance that customers will visit other nearby shops and restaurants and spend money in the local economy."
Headland said conservation projects at commercial sites also have a take-home message for customers.
"These type of projects help to foster a conservation ethic in urban residents who see first-hand that they don't need to travel far from home to protect nature."
More information about conservation-friendly land management strategies for urban and rural areas can be found at