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REI gave MSTWC $5,000. Here’s what we’re going to do with it.

Posted in: Helpful, News, Spotlight- Nov 06, 2014 No Comments

St. Louisans love their trails, and with those trails come great rivers. Just take a look at the Great River Greenway’s “River Ring” map to see what we’re talking about. They’ve got recreational paths meandering beside the Missouri, Mississippi and Meramec Rivers as well as the “Shady Creek Greenway,” “Gravois Greenway,” “River des Peres Greenway,” and several other planned trails that follow streams of the city.

The River Ring is the long-term vision of Great Rivers Greenway. When complete, the entire St. Louis region will be encircled by a 600-mile, interconnected system of greenways, trails, on-street bicycle routes and parks. Source: Great Rivers Greenway 2013 Annual Report. Click for the report.

The River Ring is the long-term vision of Great Rivers Greenway. When complete, the entire St. Louis region will be encircled by a 600-mile, interconnected system of greenways, trails, on-street bicycle routes and parks. Source: Great Rivers Greenway 2013 Annual Report. Click for the report.

So guess what, St. Louis people? We’re helping you protect those streams by collecting baseline data on water quality.

Our Plan: a Trailside Assessment Project

Thanks to a $5,000 grant from REI, the Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coalition (MSTWC) is partnering with the River des Peres Watershed Coalition (RdPWC) to encourage and recruit outdoor enthusiasts and Stream Team members into RdPWC efforts.

Baseline data are important for any stream. We aim to do biological sampling, visual surveys and photo monitoring at several locations along the recreational trail system in the River des Peres watershed. Specific areas will include biking and hiking trails along Gravois Creek, River des Peres, and other tributaries within the River Ring Trail System. This will help identify, protect, and manage wildlife and recreation opportunities; It will also help the Missouri Department of Natural Resources properly classify and designate the uses of these streams.

REI presents MSTWC a $5,000 check at the River des Peres Trash Bash

REI presents MSTWC a $5,000 check at the River des Peres Trash Bash. Pictured: Crystal Converse, geography graduate student at SIUE; Danelle Haake, RdPWC; Steve Nagle, RdPWC; Matt Russel, REI; Holly Neill, MSTWC.

Our Assets

MSTWC, in conjunction with Missouri Department of Conservation, developed an intensive watershed assessment for a waterway in Southwest Missouri that is used as a model by Stream Teams across the state. RdPWC has a strong knowledge base of its own watershed as well as the skill set needed to engage the Stream Team and recreational community in this effort. The experience of both organizations will lead to a highly successful, collaborative outcome for those who recreate near the stream and for the stream itself.

Why it’s important

Our monitoring sites are all at or adjacent to trail locations that are fully accessible to hundreds of thousands of users each year. Many of our state’s trail systems were initially positioned adjacent to the waterways, and they provide users an opportunity to connect with water, watch birds and other wildlife, take photographs and find peace by a streamside.

What’s next

Keep an eye on our website for updates on the assessment, including an interactive map of our assessment data.

Contact Holly Neill for more information, and sign up for our newsletter for updates on this and other MSTWC projects.