This section assesses the biological health of Missouri’s rivers and streams and monitors quality of water and sediment. Staff members support the department's Water Protection Program to ensure that Missourians have clean water for drinking, recreation and continued economic growth. Activities include:

  • Monitoring wastewater that has been treated and discharged
  • Monitoring groundwater
  • Electrofishing, a method for counting and classifying fish
  • Surveying streams

Staff members assist with enforcement efforts, evaluate environmental risks and assess damages from chemical spills. They collect and evaluate samples of water, sediment and macroinvertebrates. Test results play a pivotal role in ensuring that the rivers, streams and lakes of Missouri remain treasures for all to enjoy.

Aquatic Biological Monitoring Unit

  • Bioassessment reports
  • Database of biological criteria
  • Database of macroinvertebrates, such as flatworms, crayfish, snails, clams and insects
  • Standard operating procedures and project procedures
  • Sample map

Water sampling at state park beaches

During the recreational season, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources samples water weekly at all designated swimming beaches in the state park system. In accordance with state law, the department posts signs notifying visitors that it does not recommend swimming if the geometric mean of the water sample exceeds the equivalent of 190 E. coli colonies per 100 milliliters of water (190 mpn/100 ml).

Sampling results and map

Harmful algal blooms

Some algal blooms on water bodies can produce dangerous toxins. Blooms often look like film or scum; in fact, an algal bloom may make the water's surface look like spilled green paint. Toxins from harmful algal blooms (HABs) can cause illness and death in humans and animals who encounter them through contaminated recreational waters or drinking water. Cyanobacteria in the blooms create the toxins — hence, the toxins are known as cyanotoxins. Since no one can tell if a bloom is harmful just by looking, the department urges people to notify staff of blooms. Access the notification form, below.

* Department's webpage about harmful algal blooms and cyanobacteria
* Form for notifying the department of potentially harmful algal blooms

Additional Information