Believing In Streams
And the future of landowner stream stewardship? Landowners will continue to ask for information so they can take care of their own problems. The Conservation Department will continue to provide technical information. A new incentive program has already been announced that builds on what was learned in the pilot program:
- Stream/Watershed Restoration Projects - Interested landowners in watersheds can band together and work cooperatively with local agricultural agencies and Conservation Department personnel to improve streams using a variety of cost sharing incentives, including riparian set asides, livestock exclusion, stream bank erosion control techniques and fish habitat improvement devices.
- Alternative Watering Sources for Planned Grazing Systems - Livestock producers using intensive grazing systems and currently using streams for watering can receive cost sharing for installing mechanical or solar watering devices or pond construction or renovation, if they fence their livestock out of the stream.
- Stream Stewardship Agreements (SSA) - Landowners bid and receive payments for 10 years if they manage streamside lands under a management plan. The Conservation Department retains a perpetual easement after the tenth year, but the landowner is allowed to use the land as spelled out in the management plan. SSA applies to reaches with unique stream features or stretches that are important to Conservation Department stream management efforts.
Getting Government Agencies Involved
In a democracy, you and I are the government. In this age of specialization, however, there are so many agencies and organizations involved with water that getting them to improve streams can be challenging.
Stream managers cooperated with other agencies to improve streams and stream corridors on their lands and did some work on streams on our own areas, too. Since 1989, the Conservation Department has installed 138 stream improvement projects, mostly on public lands. Many of these also serve as demonstration areas for landowners to visit, view and determine if a similar technique will work on their lands.
As a precursor to cooperative stream projects, we have started to inventory the conditions of all Missouri streams and incorporate them into basin inventory and management plans. The state is divided into 40 river basins; plans have been drafted or approved on a fourth of them and the remainder will be completed by 2000.
A basin-wide look at stream problems will help us all focus on the most pressing problems first. We have also cooperated on watershed projects with other agencies on Locust Creek and Brush Creek and are looking for other opportunities as well.
What does the future hold? More of the same. We want to work with other agencies to install stream improvement projects, watershed projects and other cooperative ventures.
Stream demonstration areas will also be expanded and promoted.
Streams for the Future aims to improve streams, but it's not the Conservation Department's job to do so alone. Streams have declined over decades for reasons that involve all of us directly or indirectly. We are all a part of the problem.
Streams for the Future provides opportunities for everyone to get involved in the solution to stream problems. It'll take dedication and a lot of time, but there's something for everyone in Streams for the Future.