Our Missouri Waters
Our Missouri waters are as diverse as the varied landscapes they flow through. Missouri is blessed with natural diversity like no other state in the nation. Missouri’s flowing waterways and lakes are important to our quality of life in Missouri and play an essential role in the state’s overall health and economic well-being.
We have made significant improvements to our state’s water quality. We protect Missouri’s water resources by permitting and inspecting potential sources of pollution, at facilities throughout the state. Future improvements will require a new approach – one that looks at the whole watershed and all the potential sources of water pollution.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has begun an initiative to create a coordinated, holistic approach to protect water resources and preserve our Missouri waters. We’ve 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.
We have a range of resources to help manage and preserve Missouri’s great watersheds, such as providing cost-share programs to farmers to support good soil and water conservation practices and providing financial assistance to communities and cities.
One of the keys to this approach will be managing our water resources at the local watershed level – where specific water resource management needs are best addressed. The watershed-based approach will also allow a common understanding of the roles, priorities and responsibilities of all partners and citizens within a watershed. With the diverse hydrologic and multi-water-related resources to manage, it makes sense to be able to tailor our activities to the unique challenges and opportunities specific to each watershed.
By coordinating the efforts of all the agencies and individuals who have an interest in the watershed, we can focus our staff and financial resources on priorities and on solving water resource problems.
The process may appear complex but the overarching goals are quite simple – streamline the department’s watershed planning efforts while increasing public engagement and improve targeting of resources to increase the benefits to Our Missouri Waters.
Watershed Advisory Committee
To help with the Our Missouri Waters initiative, the department established an external Watershed Advisory Committee. The committee will help advise the department on Our Missouri Waters strategic direction and priorities and assist in program development by sharing external expertise and insight during the development, implementation and evaluation of Our Missouri Waters.
The Department of Natural Resources selected three watersheds to focus on in the first phase of the Our Missouri Waters initiative. The department evaluated all 66 watersheds throughout the state and selected the Spring River, Big River and the Lower Grand River watersheds, due to the diversity and opportunities within these watersheds. When selecting the watersheds, the department examined concerns such as water quality, water quantity, high-quality waters for preservation and local stakeholder interest.
The department will analyze the outcomes of a watershed-based approach and make adjustments before implementing a statewide effort. To learn more, select a watershed listed below for more information on how each of these watersheds are working to protect and improve Missouri water resources.
- Big River Watershed - located in east-central Missouri and discharges into the Meramec River basin.
- Lower Grand River Watershed - located in north-central Missouri.
- Spring River Watershed - located in southwest Missouri.
The Big River Watershed is located in east-central Missouri and discharges into the Meramec River basin. The Big River has severe biological impairment due to nonpoint source pollution resulting from mining activities in the watershed. Working with watershed partners in the Big River watershed will be critical as the department develops strategies to mitigate water quality problems related to mining.
Tracy Haag, Big River Watershed Coordinator
Mike Hefner, Big River Watershed Coordinator
“Like Us” on Facebook at Our Missouri Waters Big River Watershed Initiative
The Lower Grand River Watershed in north-central Missouri is in an area of the state with water quantity problems, where drought conditions can threaten the drinking water supply for many communities. This watershed contains areas of diverse wet prairie and bottomland forest that are remnants of the natural wetland habitat once common in northern Missouri. The watershed also contains streams impacted by channelization, sedimentation, and nonpoint source runoff. The department is building partnerships to identify opportunities to address water quantity and
water quality problems in this watershed.
Mary Culler, Lower Grand River Watershed Coordinator
Spring 2013 Lower Grand River Watershed newsletter
“Like Us” on Facebook at Our Missouri Waters Lower Grand River Watershed Initiative
The Spring River Watershed is a critical inter-state watershed in southwest Missouri. Missouri shares this drainage basin with Kansas and Oklahoma, and it eventually discharges into Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, which represents a highly important recreational resource. The Spring River watershed has some excellent water quality, but also has water quality impairments related to historical mining and agricultural runoff. The department will work with several active watershed groups and local partners to identify opportunities for continued water quality improvements, to protect high-quality waters, and to address water quantity problems in that area of the state.
Gwenda Bassett, Spring River Watershed Coordinator
“Like Us” on Facebook at Our Missouri Waters Spring River Watershed Initiative
Spring River Water Summit