Restored Big River stream channel and stream bank
Before Restoration - Eroded streambank on the Big River

The Meramec River Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study focuses on Big River restoration. The feasibility study determined restoration needs and ecosystem restoration solutions in the project area, which includes the Meramec and Big Rivers in St. Louis, Jefferson and St. Francois counties. The department is the designated state sponsor for the study. The USACE is the lead partner, providing engineering and technical expertise to define restoration components. The study was prepared with input and cooperation from stakeholders, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA and The Nature Conservancy. 

The completed study identifies a suite of restoration projects to address degraded aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in Big River due to historical mining and channel instability in the Big River watershed. Selected restoration projects have been evaluated and developed to support the mission of both agencies, other partners and also to support the restoration goals of the trustees. The feasibility study report provides a preliminary list of on-the-ground projects with a partial design build for recommended projects focused on stream channel, stream bank and riparian corridor restoration projects. All projects will be implement on a voluntary basis with interested land owners. 

The Feasibility Study Chief’s report was signed by the USACE Chief, General Semonite, on Nov. 1, 2019. Following the signature, the study is eligible for construction authority through Congressional approval. Final design will be completed following construction authority approval and agreement by both USACE and the department. Construction authority provides cost share for projects identified in the plan, in cooperation with the state sponsor, with a 65% federal/ 35% non-federal matching funds. The trustees and other entities, including potentially responsible parties, stand to benefit by the 65% restoration funds provided by the USACE. 


The Final St. Louis Riverfront-Meramec Basin Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study with Integrated Environmental Assessment was released Jan. 3, 2020. The study area includes portions of the Meramec River Basin located in St. Louis, Jefferson, St. Francois and Washington counties. The study area includes the Big River, a major tributary of the Meramec River, and the lower 50 river miles of the Meramec River.  The overarching goal of this study is to formulate alternatives to restore the aquatic ecosystem within the Meramec River Basin.

The Final Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment: Restoration on the Big River at Calico Creek was issued Sept. 21, 2020. This restoration project will focus on three properties in and around Big River and Calico Creek composed of:

  • 75 acres of riparian corridor restoration
  • 125 acres of Big River floodplain soil restoration
  • 385 acres of upland, woodland and glade restoration

For information about any upcoming events, public notices and opportunities for public comment relating to this project, visit What's New in NRDAR.


This project is made possible through the joint efforts of the following groups: