COLUMBIA — In March 2008, the Moon Valley Lake ran dry after a dam broke on Hominy Branch, a tributary of Hinkson Creek. The lake, which used to serve as a popular recreation spot for local residents, is now covered in a layer of mud, plants and sprouting trees.
Ginny Brundage, a resident of Bluff Boulevard since 1965, lives in a home overlooking the lake and said she misses it.
“The kids played down there when they grew up,” she said. “I looked at it every day, and it was nice to look at.”
Though the lake is now empty, there is an active creek channel flowing through the property and there are plans under way to preserve the land.
Owner Margaret Rogers has been looking to donate the property ever since the dam broke, said Jeffrey Barrow, project manager of the Greenbelt Land Trust.
“She was very interested in giving the property to the city or to a land trust or some other organization that would basically maintain it in its natural state,” he said.
Barrow said that Rogers was concerned about liabilities surrounding the dam, because there have been several regulations implemented since it was built in the 1960s.
Rogers’ lawyer Bob Smith added that she didn't want to leave a structure where the concrete was broken.
“She was concerned about someone possibly getting hurt,” he said.
Rogers worked with Smith to obtain a grant from the Stream Stewardship Trust Fund, which allowed for removal of the dam and restoration of the creek. The grant was approved in December, Smith said.
The Missouri Heritage Conservation Foundation, an organization that supports the conservation of Missouri’s natural resources, manages the trust fund and in January removed the dam as well as other debris that was in the creek, Barrow said.
“Now I think that the foundation’s plan is to allow nature to just regenerate,” Barrow said.
Once the grant was received, Rogers made the decision to donate the land to the Greenbelt Land Trust, an organization that works with landowners to protect and preserve mid-Missouri’s natural areas and clean water.
“Right now we are negotiating a contract for the donation,” Barrow said. “We’re hoping to get the contract signed within a month.”
In the meantime, the Missouri Heritage Conservation Foundation would also like to put an easement on the property that will prevent any development within 200 feet of the creek, Barrow said. In order for this to be documented, surveyors have to look at the land and determine exactly where the 200-foot mark falls.
“Once this happens, Rogers will donate the property and we’ll have a big celebration,” Barrow said.
Barrow said that there are a few things the Greenbelt Land Trust would like to do with the land, such as restoring the vegetation and protecting the water quality of the creek.
“Once we have the property we are interested in,” Barrow said, the trust wants to start “planting trees and perhaps creating a rain garden or a constructed wetland that would absorb the storm water coming off the streets.”