The Nature Conservancy recently received $100,000 from The Boeing Corporation to help initiate water quality projects in the Missouri Ozarks in the Current and Jack’s Fork River and LaBarque Creek watersheds.
"Water quality and fresh water resources will continue to be a significant local, regional and global issue for all communities. At Boeing, we want to learn about the threats and resolutions on specific projects and then take what we learned and apply it on a greater, global scale, much like the Conservancy does," said Randy Maier, director of community and education relations for Boeing Corporation. "We know to do that we need to support these projects in the early stages."
The clear, clean water of LaBarque Creek runs for six miles in northwest Jefferson County just south of St. Louis and is home to 42 species of fish, one of the highest levels of aquatic diversity in the area. This pristine watershed is threatened by encroaching development, adverse usage and erosion of stream banks on private land. To address these issues, the Conservancy has launched an integrated acquisition and restoration plan in partnership with the Missouri Department of Conservation, landowners and a variety of community groups.
The Conservancy plans to increase land acquisition of key parcels and work with an interested landowner in the highest quality stream segment to establish a conservation easement. Also, the Conservancy will be identifying land landowners with suitable property for restoration or stream bank stabilization and supporting them with funding or funding sources to help them with natural area management and restoration. In addition, the Conservancy will establish baseline aquatic monitoring of the stream in cooperation with MDC.
Further south in the Ozarks, sedimentation causes a major stress on the plants and animals in the Current and Jack’s Fork river watersheds. With more than 3,407 miles of streets, county and private roads unpaved in the area, the influx of sediment from road construction and maintenance practices threatens water quality at an increasing rate. In addition, some local farming operations utilize streams for livestock watering, which creates sedimentation and contamination downstream.
To improve water quality, the Boeing funding will allow the Conservancy to address these threats on two fronts. First, by identifying roads that intersect the river, run in a streambed or are located on slopes greater than a 15 percent rise, the Conservancy will work with local road departments to manage road and road construction to affect the water in the Current River less. Second, by identifying farm operations currently using the watershed for watering livestock, the Conservancy can develop strategies for alternative, affordable solutions with local farmers and farm bureaus to alleviate the sedimentation and contamination.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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