The Next Generation of Conservation at Work

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Published on: Sep. 2, 2006

Last revision: Nov. 29, 2010

trouble,” he said

Meeting Next Generation Goals

The Conservation Department is committed to providing opportunities for Missourians like the West family to continue to enjoy outdoor activities. If our outdoor recreation heritage is to continue, families like the Wests will have to continue to pass down their hunting traditions to future generations. Hunting, trapping and fishing provide an essential service in controlling some populations of fish and wildlife as well as contributing to the state economy. Conservation lands also play a role in maintaining our outdoor recreation heritage by providing easy access and comfortable facilities so that people can enjoy them with friends or family.

  • Preserving missouri’s Outdoor recreation Heritage
  • Serving Nature and you on Conservation Areas

Working Together for a Watershed

“We want everybody with all points of view involved.”

LaBarque Creek in Jefferson County drains water from a 13-square-mile watershed into the Meramec River.

It does so delightfully. Twisting, turning, tumbling and gurgling, it slides through steep rock canyons and falls over imposing cliffs. Moist, cool nooks and crannies in the sandstone rock near the stream serve as refuges for blueberries, club mosses and the intensely pink fame flower.

“To people tuned into the aesthetics of a landscape, LaBarque is just eye-candy,” said Mike Arduser, a natural history biologist for the Conservation Department’s St. Louis Region. “The acidic soils from the sandstone make for a different suite of plants than you’ll find elsewhere in Missouri. Most people can’t help but be drawn to that kind of beauty.”

LaBarque Creek is remarkably healthy, especially for a stream so close to St. Louis. Fisheries biologists count 42 different species of fish in the 6-mile-long stream. Other nearby Meramec tributaries average just 10 species. In the 1960s, Stewart Udall, then secretary of the interior, considered the area for a national park.

The watershed has remained pristine in the face of Jefferson County’s rapid growth because the steep topography of the landscape has fended off development, and because local landowners love the area too much to risk spoiling it.

That’s why residents of the watershed came out in droves to the LaBarque Creek Festival held in April 2005. Of the 1,300 people who live in the watershed, more than 300 attended the event. They learned more about the history and biology of the area and discussed ways they could protect the unique resource they called home.

“That was really the kickoff to the watershed planning process,” said Tracy Boaz, the community conservationist working out of

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