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Earth Hydrology Springs

Major Springs of the Bryant Watershed 

Bryant Spring
Crystal Spring
Hodgson Mill Spring
Rockbridge and Morris Springs
Zanoni Spring

Note: Some spring flows are somewhat variable, depending on the year's rain. To obtain an average flow, many measurements in all four seasons are necessary. Several of the springs along the Bryant have not yet been averaged. In those cases, we have taken an average of available measurements. 


Bryant Spring

Bryant Spring can be found near the Headwaters area of the Bryant Watershed, about six miles north of Ava and just west of Highway 5. The flow from Bryant Spring marks the beginning of the Bryant as a perennial (always flowing) stream. 

The spring is small compared to the other major springs in the watershed. Its average flow is around 1.1 cfs (cubic feet per second), or 711,000 gallons a day. That was enough, however, to power a grist mill in years past. 

Bryant Spring currently supplies water to a private fish hatchery. The old mill dam forms a pool that is used for fishing. In the past, a chute carried water to the grist mill. 

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Crystal Spring

Crystal Spring flows near Hunter Creek, six miles east of Ava. It flows from beneath a ledge of Roubidoux sandstone at an altitude of 920 feet. It is the highest spring in the North Fork basin, with flow above 10 cubic feet per second. Its flow is around 12.7 cfs, or 8,190,000 gallons a day. 

The spring opening is in a pool formed by a dam. The spring was formerly the power source for an ice plant and lights for a nearby resort. Today, Crystal Spring is a commercial hatchery and fishing spot. Fish raised at the hatchery were shipped to the 1963 World's Fair. 
 
 
 
 
 
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Hodgson Mill Spring

Most sources say this is the 15th largest spring in Missouri. (One source, the beautiful and informative Springs of Missouri website, says the spring is the 19th largest.) This is the site of the famous Hodgson Mill, where Highway 181 crosses the Bryant. 

The spring opening is a joint in dolomite and sandstone situated at the base of a high Roubidoux sandstone bluff. Over thousands of years, the flow of water has dissolved the rock and enlarged the opening. The old mill is built over the spring opening so that part of the water is channeled under the mill to the water wheel. The rest of the water enters a pool, then rushes over a dam into the spring branch. The branch runs 600 feet into the Bryant. Average flow is 36.4 cfs, or 23.5 million gallons a day. 

Dye was used in an experiment to trace groundwater movement to Hodgson Mill spring from the Dora sinkhole dump 6 miles away. The dye (Flourescein dye) as well as Lycopodium bacteria spores traveled the 6 miles in 12 to 20 days. The flow of the North Fork River averages 730 cfs. The Bryant averages 530 cfs, even though their watersheds are the same size. The difference in discharge between the two streams is generally 150-200 cfs. Dye tracing has shown a connection between Hodgson Mill Spring and two other springs, Double and North Fork, on the North Fork River. Each is just four and a half miles to the east. Dyes injected into losing streams in the upper Bryant Creek drainage, and into the headwaters of the Gasconade River thirty miles northwest, surfaced at the three springs. 

All three springs are separate outlets of the same spring system. However, most of the water from that system flows into the North Fork. The discharge of Double Springs and North Fork Springs together is about 200 cfs. This accounts for most of the difference in flow between the two rivers. 

Links:

Divers explore Hodgson Mill Spring - Story from the Ozark County Times

Ozark Cave Diving Alliance - Photos from the dive into Hodgson Spring

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Rockbridge and Morris Springs

These springs are located in and near Spring Creek at Rockbridge, just off Highway N. Rockbridge Spring is actually four springs rising in the lake formed by the old mill dam. Nearby, Morris Spring flows from an opening along a bedding plane in dolomite near the contact between the Gasconade Dolomite and the overlying Roubidoux sandstone. There it forms a small pool. The flow of Rockbridge spring is about 19.1 cfs, or 12,345,000 gallons a day. Morris Spring flows about 3.6 cfs, or 2,335,000 gallons a day. The old mill still stands at the site of the old town of Rockbridge, the first Ozark County seat.

 

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Zanoni Spring

Zanoni Spring is near Pine Creek on Highway 181 at the old community of Zanoni. It issues from openings in the Roubidoux Formation. A concrete dam forms a mill pond which discharges water into a flume leading to the overshot wheel of the mill. The spring flow is about 0.8 cfs, or 500,000 gallons a day. Old Zanoni Mill and the water wheel are still standing, as is the general store. The store is still used as a polling place.


 
 


Sources: Springs of Missouri,1974; Surface Water Resources of Missouri, James Van Dyke, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, 1995. 

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