retain floodwaters and then release them slowly. They also recharge ground water and help improve water quality. Many wetland plants and algae absorb excess nutrients in the waters passing through the wetland. One of the best features of wetlands is the recreational opportunity they offer seasonally from hunting and fishing to bird and wildlife watching.”
PARTNERSHIPS BENEFIT STREAM LIFE
Partnerships are also improving stream connectivity, important for many fish species. In one recent MDC cost share project, a Niangua River clear-span bridge was constructed at Williams Ford in Dallas County. This bridge improves access for residents during floods and enhances critical habitat for the state endangered Niangua darter by improving stream connectivity and aquatic organism passage. Projects that stabilize and improve Niangua darter habitat benefit numerous other aquatic species.
In another project, MDC assisted the Shannon County Commission with installation of a low-water articulating concrete mattress crossing on Mahan Creek. Mahan Creek is a tributary to Jacks Fork River, which is part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. The original crossing used the natural stream gravel bed. The county used to dump truckloads of road rock after every high-water event. The new articulating concrete mattress allows for the passage of sand and gravel over the crossing during high-flow events while maintaining stability and provides an ideal surface for aquatic organism passage.
To help fund both projects, MDC secured a grant from the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation through their Stream Stewardship Trust Fund, and other sources. MDC provided engineering design and technical guidance and local governments installed the projects. Similar projects involving a variety of partners and designed to enhance aquatic organism passage are underway at selected locations across the state.
QUALITY WATER MEANS QUALITY LIFE
Missourians have proven that healthy waters are important. They remain dedicated to that foundation of our quality of life in many ways. These efforts continue to benefit people and wildlife, wherever we live. MDC works with Missourians from throughout the state to involve and inspire them to get involved with Stream Teams and with community efforts to improve water quality.
“Missouri is a world-class place to hunt, fish, float, bird watch, hike and experience nature,” says Robert L. Ziehmer, MDC director. “Those opportunities wouldn’t exist without the hard work done by countless generations to ensure the health of our state’s vast waterways. For the past 75 years, MDC has worked with Missourians, and for Missourians,