Results and Accomplishments
Unable to control the creek's flow, planners on the Missouri NRCS watershed staff suggested a voluntary floodplain buyout to control flood damage. In July 1998, NRCS, the Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District and the City of Piedmont signed the McKenzie Creek Watershed Plan and Environmental Assessment.
Since then, the city has purchased three commercial buildings and 101 mostly low-income residences. Residents of those homes were relocated to flood-free areas. All buyouts were voluntary.
In place of the 104 residences and businesses, about 50 acres of open space was added along the creek. The city built two new parks, including playground equipment, two pavilions, two restrooms, a little league baseball field, a youth soccer field, benches, picnic shelters and horseshoe pits.
The centerpiece of the improvements is a paved trail that winds for almost a mile along McKenzie Creek. It includes a handicap-accessible pier at a popular fishing hole.
Environmental improvements include planting more than 500 trees within the stream corridor and stabilizing and restoring 800 feet of the stream's bank.
By utilizing authority provided by the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act, NRCS and its partners were able to help the City of Piedmont turn a dangerous, blighted area of town into attractive, usable park land.