US EPA Water Quality Cooperative Agreement Project #EPA-R7WWPD-04-009
Assessing  the  Environmental  Condition  of  Sinkholes
in  the  Jack’s  Fork  Watershed
A Project of the Jacks Fork River Watershed Committee
in South Central Missouri
The Jacks Fork River in South Central Missouri is classified as an "Outstanding Natural Resource Water" that must be protected to maintain safe whole-body contact. As an Outstanding Natural Resource Water, no degradation of water quality is allowed under Missouri's Water Quality Standards.
Recent assessments of the Jacks Fork River conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Park Service show that portions of the river have exceeded the State's standard for safe whole-body contact recreation.
To address this issue, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has encouraged the formation of a local partnership for watershed management. As a result, a group of approximately 30 local business representatives and landowners have volunteered to form the Jacks Fork Watershed Committee.
The Committee is addressing the river's water quality issues through grant-funded studies and programs that will promote common sense watershed management practices. Since the Jacks Fork River watershed is formed in karst terrain, the Committee decided to assess the potential for contamination through sinkholes that recharge springs on the river as an initial step.
To accomplish this task, a GPS field mapping system was used to map and document the condition of 300 sinkholes in the watershed. Dye traces were performed to define the general direction of karst groundwater flow and identify significant areas of recharge for the springs on the river. The field data was combined with existing digital geospatial data to develop a geographic information system (GIS) of the watershed. The GIS forms a digital hydrographic model of the watershed that will be used to develop and implement a watershed management plan.
An HTML version of the project report may be accessed through the following link:
An online version of the GIS may be accessed through this link:
Jacks Fork River Online Geographic Information System
An outline of the field mapping procedures and GIS development may be accessed here:
GIS Quality Assurance Project Plan