Department Stream Basin Reports Point Way to Healthier Waterways

Article excerpt

Missourians who are curious about the condition of streams in their neighborhoods soon will be able to satisfy their curiosity. People who live in six areas already have access to reports about the health of their streams.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is well into the process of taking stock of every stream basin in the state. The process involves documenting the geological setting, land and water use, flows and water quality in areas drained by each of the state's 35 stream systems. Also included in the studies are plants and animals living in the streams.

The results of each stream basin inventory are distilled in a plan, complete with goals for conserving or restoring ecological values there. MDC officials say the plans will help private and public land managers get the most benefit from streams.

So far, MDC has produced stream basin inventory and management plans for the Lamine, Fox, Cuivre and Blue Rivers, Locust Creek in north-central Missouri and the Headwater Diversion Basin in southeast Missouri. MDC hopes to produce similar plans for the state's remaining 35 stream basins by the year 2000.

"Taking a comprehensive inventory of the state's stream resources is an essential first step toward conserving and restoring them," says Fisheries Administrative Supervisor Rich Wehnes. "We can't set realistic goals for stream management without knowing where we have excellent streams that should be maintained and where we have problems that need to be addressed."

Wehnes says the stream basin inventories and management plans will be an enormous help to Missourians who are interested in managing stream assets. He said the inventories will provide a wealth of information to help Stream Teams, landowners and conservation-oriented groups prioritize their activities.

Further information on the reports is available from: Missouri Department of Conservation, Stream Basin Plans, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180.

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