`Streams for Future" Shows Tributaries Umbrella Program Spinning off into Wide Range of Conservation Initiatives

Article excerpt

Missouri's trend-setting "Streams For the Future" is taking off. Different parts of the program are multiplying the benefits of others, according to Rich Wehnes, stream coordination supervisor for the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Streams For the Future is an umbrella program encompassing a wide range of stream conservation initiatives. The most successful facet of Streams For the Future - at least in terms of citizen involvement - is Missouri Stream Teams. MDC is developing the program in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM).

The state's 468 Stream Teams include more than 25,000 members. These groups adopt streams to improve or monitor. Recently, two Stream Teams lent a hand to implement another Streams For the Future initiative, the Landowner Incentive Program. Through this program, MDC gives landowners technical assistance and may provide equipment, materials and labor to solve stream-bank erosion problems.

CFM Stream Team Coordinator Mark Van Patten saw an opportunity for two Stream Teams to help a landowner on a project of mutual interest. Missouri's first Stream Team, the Roubidoux Fly Fishers, and the mid-Missouri chapter of Trout Unlimited both wanted to improve trout habitat on Mill Creek in Phelps County. Storms last fall accelerated erosion of a stream bank on land owned by Kenny Harrison. MDC wanted to correct bank instability that was affecting its wild-trout management program.

MDC helped identify the source of the problem and designed a solution. The Stream Teams agreed to provide labor to build a cedar tree revetment to stabilize the bank. Harrison provided materials for the job, and MDC supervised the work and provided specialized equipment to anchor the revetment.

One Saturday in February, everyone met at Harrison' s land and installed a cedar tree revetment to stabilize the bank. Harrison was so pleased with the arrangement that he provided fried chicken to feed the hungry workers at noon. After finishing the revetment, the Stream Teams anchored two tree root wads in the stream to create high-quality fish habitat.

"I expect to see more of this kind of cooperation as the Stream Teams and other Streams For the Future programs continue to grow," said MDC Stream Team Coordinator Joe Bachant. "The potential benefits for Missouri streams are enormous."

Harrison's project is one of several cost-sharing projects installed under a pilot program that spanned three years. MDC reimbursed landowners who installed certain stream improvements for 75 percent of their costs. …