Upper Jacks Fork River Rats
- Stream Team #: 713
- Date formed: Oct. 31, 1995
- Location: Jacks Fork River
- For more info about Stream Teams: see the links listed below.
“Family Affair” describes the Haviland Family’s commitment to stream conservation. Four generations of the family are involved. Founders Ted and Pat have floated the Jacks Fork River for many years, and when they noticed a growing trash problem they didn’t complain, they organized! Forming their own stream team was just the start. More recently they have helped found the Scenic Rivers Stream Team Association, harnessing the power of multiple stream teams for bigger projects than any one could tackle alone. The men of Stream Team 713 recharge their batteries by floating the Eleven Point River on New Year’s Eve each year. Once they had to break ice to leave their campsite. To keep their shared passion for conservation fresh, Ted and Pat take a float trip around Valentine’s Day. Pat says, “Children are our future, and water is their future. To keep water clean, you’ve got to keep everything clean.”
Critters give us clues about the health of our streams.
Healthy streams don’t always have clear water, and clear streams can be polluted. Stream Teams use biological monitoring to evaluate stream health without lots of equipment. They catch critters on the stream bottom with nets. Then they identify and count them. Stonefly and caddisfly larvae need pure water to survive, so if they are present, water quality is good. Dragonfly larvae and crayfish tolerate some pollution, so their presence—without more sensitive species—means moderate pollution. Blood worms and mosquito larvae can survive in very polluted water. If they are all you find in a stream, it isn’t very clean.
Bagnell Changes Help Nature
Water releases now consider fish and other wildlife.
Changes at AmerenUE’s Osage Hydroelectric Project, better known as Bagnell Dam, are making the lower 82 miles of the Osage River a healthier place for fish and other wildlife. Under an agreement inked last year, the private utility company has installed hydroelectric generating turbines and a new control system designed to keep oxygen and nitrogen levels safe for fish below the dam. AmerenUE also is installing a net to keep fish from passing through the turbines and being injured, and has taken measures to avoid fish kills due to violent currents below their spillway during floods. Another change involves providing minimum flows through Bagnell Dam when AmerenUE is not generating electricity to meet power needs. Providing minimum flows ensures that walleye, white bass and paddlefish have suitable conditions for spawning each spring. It also helps protect endangered fresh-water mussel species from exposure during low-flow periods. These accommodations to meet the needs of fish and wildlife are written into AmerenUE’s federal license to operate for the next 40 years.