The Twin River Rangers originally focused on the Meramec and Big rivers. However, their efforts have expanded. They still conduct stream cleanups every year and participate in Earth Day at Forest Park, bringing buckets of crayfish to delight urbanites who have never seen, let alone held, a “lobster.” But they also are leading the formation of Stream Team associations to multiply the power of individual teams. Rangers spokesman Larry Cain is president of the Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coalition, an umbrella group for Stream Team associations statewide. “Our goal is to be a voice for Stream Teams and to help guide the future of the Stream Team program,” he said. Anheuser-Busch has underwritten much of Stream Team accomplishments. Cain, who works for the brewer said, “I am really proud of my employer for the way they have supported the Missouri Stream Team and other stream conservation programs.”
Tackling a big problem like water pollution can be daunting. However, you might be surprised how easy it is to make a difference. One example is the enormous problem of pollution from storm sewers.
Many people think the water inlets along city streets take whatever goes into them to wastewater treatment plants, where toxic chemicals are removed. This is not true. Storm sewers are designed to take rainwater, snowmelt and other naturally-occurring runoff out of roadways and deliver it to the nearest stream. Paint thinner, pesticides, antifreeze, motor oil and other toxic materials that are poured down storm sewers go straight into our streams, and that is a serious problem.
Because pollution from storm sewers cannot be traced to a single source, it is classified as “non-point” pollution, along with runoff from fields and other hard-to-trace pollution. Non-point pollution is one of the biggest contributors to stream pollution.
Unlike some problems, there are things you can do to prevent pollution from entering Missoruri streams through storm drains. One is to dispose of toxic materials properly. The other is to alert others to the danger of using storm drains as toxic-waste dumps. You can do this by stenciling storm drains in your area with the message “Dump no waste. Drains to stream.”
Kits with ready-made stencils and detailed instructions about how to use them are available through the Missouri Stream Team. To get your kit, visit online to download a PDF of the order form, or contact Missouri Stream Team, PO Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, phone (573) 751-4115, ext. 3169, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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