Crane Creek wetland and Stream mitigation Bank
Stone County, Missouri
The 172-acre Crane Creek Wetland and Stream Mitigation Bank is the first mitigation bank in southern Missouri available to the general public. Its location on spring-fed Crane Creek just a few miles downstream of a blue ribbon trout area and only a short distance from the biologically important James River made this site a significant conservation opportunity. Moreover, Swallowtail recognized that this property had remarkable potential for restoration due to its highly degraded state.
Surrounding the confluence of Crane Creek and Dry Crane Creek, this site includes more than 2.2 miles of streams, 2.0 miles of which are now protected on both sides. In addition, the historical clearing of the original trees and native vegetation and the use of the site as cattle pasture in recent years had left most of this stream length with minimal or no riparian vegetation. The rest of the site existed as fescue pasture of little biological value, along with some small, low-value grazed wetlands and Ozark hillsides. The previous modifications to the site also included the channelization of almost a quarter mile of Dry Crane Creek, the straightening of a small perennial spring branch to flow into a roadside ditch, and the diversion of a hillside seep into an excavated cattle pond.
Swallowtail has restored the site by removing cattle from the property, vastly expanding riparian buffers through roughly 72 acres of tree and shrub plantings, and replacing the fescue pastures with prairie, young forest, and wetland habitats. The straightened spring branch was redirected from the roadside ditch into its previous path in the former channel of Dry Crane Creek, restoring almost 1,200 linear feet of perennial stream channel that is now used by fish, amphibians, and beavers. More than 10 acres of wetlands were restored on the property, a notably large amount for the Ozarks which are not known for significant concentrations of wetlands. These wetland areas include many shallow marsh locations ideal for amphibian reproduction. Most importantly, the site includes a seep/fen restoration area where the previously diverted hillside seep was allowed to again flow freely onto the floodplain to support perennially soggy ground and a diversity of wetland flora.
The improvements on this site will offset the impacts to streams and wetlands throughout the watersheds of the White River, James River, North Fork River, and Bryant Creek. This includes most of the Springfield metropolitan region as well as all of the area surrounding Branson.