Nonpoint Source Pollution (NPS) is the greatest threat to Missouri waters. Over 85% of our impaired rivers and streams and over 50% of our impaired lakes are impaired by NPS. Learn more about NPS – and how to address it – by exploring the links on this page. 

NPS is any pollution that is not sourced from a single point (e.g. a pipe), rather, NPS happens when water from rainfall, snowmelt or irrigation runs over land or through the ground and picks up pollutants and deposits them into rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands, or groundwater.

NPS Management Program How to Restore and Protect Section 319 Grants to Address NPS
A wetland surrounded by vegetation.

Missouri’s Nonpoint Source Management Plan (NPSMP)

As part of addressing statewide NPS concerns, the NPSMP prioritizes Missouri features vulnerable to degradation by NPS:

  • Karst features – with more than 7,300 caves and 16,000 sinkholes
  • 643,000 acres of wetlands
  • 3 National Outstanding Resource Waters
  • 44 State Outstanding Resource Waters
Missouri Springs PUB0656 photo of Big Spring

NPS Water Quality Impairments in Missouri Streams 

From the department's 2020 biennial assessment of water quality in Missouri’s 115,150 miles of classified streams:

  • Total miles with enough data for assessment: 11,673 (10% of total miles)
  • Total miles impaired for one or more uses: 5574 (48% of total assessed)
  • Percent of impaired total caused by NPS: 86%
  • Bacteria is the top impairment: 42% of total
  • Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program
A dry creekbed surrounded by vegetation.

Watershed Planning 

Water quality restoration and protection requires a watershed approach to ensure healthy waters for drinking, recreating and other uses. Missouri’s NPS Management Plan prioritizes watershed based planning for water quality improvement. There are currently nine department-accepted watershed based plans available for Section 319 implementation funding.

A planned garden area inside the Springfield, Missouri city limits.

Section 319 NPS Grants

The department annually provides funding authorized by Section 319 of the federal Clean Water Act to support planning for, and the implementation of, on-the-ground practices that control or reduce nonpoint source pollution.

For more information about Missouri’s NPS Management Program and Section 319 NPS Grants, contact the department's Water Protection Program.