History & Overview

Rick Holton
Rick Holton, Chairman of Deer Creek Watershed Friends, assists during the Ladue Day of Service. © All Rights Reserved.

To help facilitate cleaner, safer water in the Deer Creek Watershed, Missouri Botanical Garden has initiated a Deer Creek Watershed Alliance in partnership with Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, Washington University, East-West Gateway Council of Governments, Great Rivers Greenway (GRG), Missouri Department of Conservation, American Society of Civil Engineers—St. Louis Section, local municipalities, non-profit organizations, and the Deer Creek Watershed Friends, a citizen-led Missouri Botanical Garden committee. This alliance is funded by Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, Mabel Dorn Reeder Foundation, Great Rivers Greenway, Missouri Department of Conservation, and US EPA Region 7 through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (subgrant number G11-NPS-15), under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. (See Partners.)

Deer Creek originates in Creve Coeur and flows southeast nearly 11 miles before it enters the River des Peres in Maplewood. It encompasses all or part of 22 municipalities including Creve Coeur, Des Peres, Frontenac, Huntleigh, Ladue, Clayton, Maplewood, Richmond Heights, Rock Hill, Webster Groves, and Brentwood. The watershed includes Deer Creek, as well as its tributaries Two-Mile Creek, Black Creek, Sebago Creek, Shady Grove Creek, Rock Hill Creek, Hampton Creek, and Claytonia Creek.

The loss of water quality in urban areas is due to many factors. Some of these may include run-off during storm events from impervious surface areas, yard waste in streams, pet manure, invasive species, trash, and/or road salt. These factors can lead to increased water pollution, sedimentation, infrastructure damage, erosion and creek-widening resulting in property loss, flooding and property damage.

Deer Creek Watershed Alliance implementation strategies to address these concerns currently include:

  1. citizen-led voluntary public engagement activities with partnering agencies, municipalities, and non-profits;
  2. the development of a watershed plan with local municipalities, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, East-West Gateway Council of Governments, and American Society of Civil Engineers—St. Louis Section;
  3. implementation of demonstration bioretention projects with Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, Missouri Department of Conservation, and GRG; and
  4. monitoring of three of the demonstration projects with Washington University to measure the projects’ effectiveness in improving water quality.

Download the PowerPoint presentation Deer Creek Watershed Planning.

Review the Deer Creek Watershed Plan.


In 2014, DCWA project horticulturalist Cindy Gilberg was awarded the Certificate of Excellence for her work with the Alliance.

The Deer Creek Watershed Alliance received a 2013 Civic Stewardship Award from the St. Louis Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). The Civic Stewardship Award is an annual award given by the St. Louis Chapter of ASLA to recognize individuals, businesses, and organizations who have raised awareness or have shown stewardship of the natural or built environment through their actions and deeds.

In 2010 Deer Creek Watershed Alliance was awarded the William C. Schock Clean Water Conservancy Award.

Deer Creek Watershed Initiative won the 2009 Intelligent Use of Water State of the Union Award from Rain Bird. Download the press release.