Water Protection Program

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Who's Monitoring Your Watershed?

No matter where you go, from small towns to big cities, down on the farm or back at the ranch, you're always in a watershed. They come in all shapes and sizes, from millions of square miles to just a few acres. A watershed is an area of land that catches rainfall and melting snow, which in turn drain into low lying bodies of water. Each one is a dynamic, unique place we call home. It's where we live, work and play and also where Stream Teams monitor. Everything we do affects the water in the watershed. Stream Team Volunteer Water Quality Monitors are trained “citizen scientists” who monitor stream health in Missouri.

Did you know you can join a Stream Team and become a trained Volunteer Water Quality Monitor, or VWQM, to protect the water quality in rivers and lakes near you? Because everything that is done on the land affects the quality of the water in your watershed, we need many trained monitors. Stream Team monitors help protect the quality of life for all living creatures in that basin, human and animal alike.

Stream Team Volunteer Water Quality Monitors do the following things:

Our Missouri Waters

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources created a coordinated, holistic approach to protect water resources and preserve our Missouri waters. We named this innovative statewide watershed approach -- Our Missouri Waters -- because water, like all of our natural resources, belongs to all of us. We all need to understand and protect our waters to ensure a positive future, and the department needs the help of citizens, landowners, communities, industries and local leaders for this effort to be successful.

How you can help:

Missouri Watershed Map

The line between watersheds, called a divide, is the highest ground between two streams. Click on the map below for details that will help you identify the watershed in which you live. Notice how often towns are situated on the divides and how often roads run along these ridges.

The Hydrologic Unit Code, or HUC, system is a way to classify watersheds by size. This is a national system used to communicate the size and relationship of natural stream systems. Every hydrologic unit (a watershed or part of a watershed) is identified by a unique HUC, a number containing two to 12 digits. The bigger the HUC number, the smaller the watershed.

Stream Team Volunteer Water Quality Monitors adopt watersheds of all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they choose to monitor a stream in a small watershed near their home. Other times they choose the watershed of a larger river where they enjoy fishing and canoeing, such as the Meramec. Chances are, wherever you live in Missouri, there will be a Volunteer Water Quality Monitor near you.

Link to MO state map.