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.



Residents Tout Benefits Of Rain Barrel Use
Webster-Kirkwood Times, February 1, 2013

RainScape Rebates Available To Area Landowners
West End Word, January 30, 2013

Want Your Kirkwood Yard to Look Like This?
Kirkwood Patch, January 29, 2013

Rebate Program for Residents in Deer Creek Watershed
University City Patch, January 7, 2013

St. Louis County Residents Could Get Money for Rainscaping
St. Louis Post Dispatch, January 6, 2013

Des Peres to Take Part in Rainscaping Program
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 27, 2012

Creve Coeur OKs Incentives for Eco-friendly Landscaping
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 22, 2012

WG Residents Will Be Eligible For Rainscaping Rebate
Webster-Kirkwood Times, October 19, 2012

Trees Contribute to Stormwater Management
The Healthy Planet, October 1, 2011

On the Hunt—for Trees
Webster-Kirkwood Times, September 23, 2011

Creve Coeur Creeks and Streams Get An Identity
Creve Coeur Patch, June 9, 2011

Rainy Day Garden Party
University City Patch, May 16, 2011

Making Gardeners Green With Envy
University City Patch, May 16, 2011

Mt. Calvary Rain Garden Breaks Ground
The Brentwood Spirit, March 14, 2011

Groundbreaking Ceremony Celebrates Rain Garden Project
Maplewood-Brentwood Patch, March 12, 2011

MSD Promotes Rain Gardens, Other Methods to Slow, Clean Storm Water
St. Louis Post Dispatch, December 1, 2010

Press Releases

Mount Calvary Rain Garden will Benefit Larger Watershed Community—February 2011 [pdf]

Missouri Botanical Garden Invites Citizens to Help Name More than 30 Tributaries in the Deer Creek Watershed—March 2010 [pdf]

Deer Creek Watershed Initiative Wins Rain Bird Award for Intelligent Use of Water—November 2009 [pdf]

Deer Creek Watershed Initiative Launched to Reduce Pollution—September 2009 [pdf]