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The Nature Conservancy in Western Ozarks

Posted in: Spotlight- Jun 11, 2016 No Comments

Holly Neill, Executive Director-Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coalition

Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coalition is excited to have new efforts on the waterways of the Western Ozarks.  We would like to extend a warm welcome to The Nature Conservancy and Drew Holt who is heading up efforts with a diverse set of stakeholders throughout the Western Ozarks to combat some of the biggest problems facing Ozark rivers and streams—too much sediment and excessive nutrients—that reduce water quality and harm aquatic life. The Western Ozark Waters Initiative kicked off last year with start-up funding from Tyson Foods, Inc. Tyson Foods presented the Conservancy with $500,000 to conserve water quality in northwest Arkansas and southwest Missouri.

“The Conservancy is just getting in the game in southwest Missouri, so we want to find out what’s working, what isn’t, and how we can engage with other people and groups to make the most of the resources we bring to the table,” said Holt. “By working together, we can find solutions that support both businesses and wildlife. And we all benefit from clean water for drinking and recreation.”

Early on accomplishments include a stream cleanup on the Elk River last Summer, a community forum for the Elk River this Winter and planting a thousand trees along the Elk River at two sites this Spring.

Additional efforts underway include stream cleanup and lunch ‘n learn events, as well as, initial assessment/prioritization of stream bank issues/sediment sources and other landowner and community outreach activities. Larger on the ground efforts, such as a streambank restoration demonstration project using state-of-the-art bioengineering techniques for reducing sediment and nutrients and creating habitat, are expected to be initiated this Summer.

Grand Falls, Joplin, MO  Photo Credit: The Nature Conservancy

Grand Falls, Joplin, MO
Photo Credit: The Nature Conservancy