Smith Creek wetland and Stream mitigation Bank
Moniteau County, Missouri
The first mitigation bank available to the public in Mid-Missouri, the Smith Creek Wetland and Stream Mitigation Bank features 175 acres of wetlands, streams, and riparian and upland buffers. This site’s location on a tributary to one of the region’s most important waterways, its poorly drained soils, and its history of stream degradation were signs of its mitigation potential.
Before the commencement of mitigation activities, the Bank property largely consisted of row crop agriculture fields with some pasture areas and less than a half-acre of degraded wetlands. The riparian buffer along one side of Smith Creek was generally adequate although it was relatively thin on the other side. Moreover, past agricultural earthwork had transformed three tributary streams into channelized ditches and largely eradicated four additional small streams. Agricultural conversion further lessened the strong hydrologic influences on the Bank through the creation of a levee along Smith Creek, the forced migration of the Smith Creek channel to the south, and the construction of a diversion berm along the northern limit of the floodplain area.
Swallowtail has restored the property so that it is again dominated by riparian and wetland conditions by breaching the Smith Creek levee and the diversion berm, restoring the tributary streams, and establishing riparian buffers and floodplain wetlands. The mitigation activities were completed in 2009 and now the site now has more than 60 acres of high-functioning wetlands that provide habitat for countless frogs, numerous water birds and other wildlife. In fact, the first observed population of small-mouthed salamanders in Moniteau County was discovered on this property and uses at least one of the wetland pools for reproduction. In addition, more than a half mile of both sides of Smith Creek is now protected, including a portion surrounding a known mussel bed. The riparian buffer surrounding this stream has been significantly widened and the channelized tributary ditches and the eradicated streams have been restored to a more natural sinuosity and channel cross section.