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Believing In Streams

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Published on: Jun. 2, 1997

Last revision: Oct. 26, 2010

eagerness to chip in and help Missouri streams through the Stream Teams. Our task will be to keep teams interested and active, but mostly our job will be to try and keep up with gung-ho participants.

Getting Landowners Involved

We knew landowners were important. Since 93 percent of the land where streams flow is in private ownership, landowners had to be a part of the program. We provided landowners with information and inducement to install stream improvement projects on lands they control.

We produced 12 brochures providing information on how to deal with common stream problems; held 39 landowner workshops, training approximately 1,000 landowners on streams and how to deal with their problems; and we provided technical advice to over 2,200 landowners.

The Conservation Department also began in 1991 to determine how to provide inducements for landowners to install stream improvements. We tried a variety of ways: cost sharing, loaning specialized equipment, easements and cooperatively installing stream projects. Dallas and Phelps county landowners installed 10 projects through a cost sharing program. We also loaned equipment for 11 projects and worked with 42 landowners spread out across the state on Landowner Cooperator Projects. And 16 landowners in Vernon and Marion counties helped us on stream stewardship projects.

The Conservation Department was glad that landowners responded to this first-ever program, but our goal was information on what landowners look for in an incentive program, not a number of projects. When the pilot period ended, we promised that participants would have a chance to share their opinions on the incentive program.

The Conservation Department conducted a large landowner survey in 1996 to find out how the pilot incentive program went and to solicit opinions for the future. Some of the respondents told us:

  • They consider a lot of streamside land in good shape.
  • Those who cooperated in the first pilot effort were generally satisfied (92 percent) with the services provided.
  • Respondents said a cooperative effort involving local agricultural agencies was absolutely necessary, and thought it helpful to target efforts toward groups of landowners, especially along watershed boundaries.
  • The planting of stream side trees is a complex issue. Most landowners see the value of trees and recognize their benefits, but there's a limit to how many trees they are willing to plant along streamside farmland.
  • Respondents were emphatic that incentives should be compatible with their agricultural operation and have some economic benefit for them.
  • Cooperators said that one-on-one contacts were the preferred way to receive help

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