Missouri Streams: In Good Hands
from Missouri waterways.
Some Teams take litter personally. Armed with winches and heavy equipment, no tire is safe from “The Mighty 211” Stream Team. These dedicated volunteers have removed countless tires from Missouri streams, quite possibly in the hundreds of thousands! What drives this tire-hungry Team to scour the state for discarded rubber? Brian Waldrop, long-time Mighty 211 member and current Stream Team assistant in the St. Louis Region, offers some insight. “We have fun at it. Will you let the trash beat you, or will you conquer the trash? It is also a competitive game against other Teams. But, when we join forces with those other Teams, we are all on the same team.”
Some ambitious Teams combine learning opportunities and stewardship, organizing large community events aimed at bringing awareness to watershed issues. For example, the Mill Creek Watershed Coalition (Team 4510) held the very first Mill Creek BioBlitz and Cleanup in Newburg last year, attracting more than 100 volunteers and the partnership of numerous agencies and nongovernmental organizations. During this one-day event dedicated to a healthy Mill Creek watershed, tires, debris, and trash were collected and nearly 500 species of flora and fauna identified. Jim Marstiller, president of the coalition, summed up the experience as “living proof that there is no end to what can be accomplished when people work together toward a common goal and no one cares who gets the credit.”
In the St. Louis area, River des Peres Watershed Coalition (Team 3745) created the annual “Bike With Your Boots On” event, which brings conservation opportunities on urban streams to cycling enthusiasts. Participants make frequent stops to test water quality while biking along one of St. Louis’ many greenways. They also host the annual River des Peres Trash Bash, which mobilizes more than 250 volunteers at more than 38 sites in the watershed. “We have been able to reach out to people from all walks of life,” said Team member Danelle Haake, “and show them that there are streams in our urban places, and that these streams are able to support wildlife that rely on streams to survive.”
Missouri River Relief (Team 1875) has adopted the entire lower Missouri River, from St. Louis to Yankton, S.D., and continues to prove that no task is too large to conquer. With an army of volunteers and a fleet of boats, River Relief connects citizens to the