Ralph Dodson could have adopted a pristine Ozark river, but those streams don’t lack for attention. Besides, cleaning up a faraway river would not have made his work environment any more pleasant. That’s why Dodson and his coworkers settled on a ditch running through the Union-Pacific Railroad’s DeSoto Car Shop and some frontage along Joachim Creek.
The shop rebuilds railroad cars. The ditch running through the facility empties into Joachim Creek, a tributary of the Meramec River. It collects lots of litter from city streets, and keeping it clean prevents trash from reaching the Meramec.
“I had a lot of encouragement from the company,” says Dodson, whose job as facility coordinator includes environmental considerations. “We have an easy way to get rid of the trash in the company’s dumpster, and it makes us a better place. We like doing it.”
If you own an “all-terrain” vehicle, you can go anywhere, right? Wrong.
ATVs are great tools for some jobs, such as creating food plots in remote spots and hauling deer out of the woods during hunting season. On conservation areas, however, ATVs may be operated only in parking lots and on improved interior roads, and only if they are licensed. Missouri law also prohibits driving ATVs in streams, except when fording at customary road crossings or for agricultural purposes on land owned by the ATV operator. Operating ATVs illegally can bring fines and suspension of hunting and fishing privileges. The same laws apply to other off-road vehicles.
One of Missouri’s oldest, biggest environmental events turns 40 this month, and the celebration will be one to remember. Operation Clean Stream 2007 will take place on Aug. 25, with 2,000 volunteers converging to remove litter from the Meramec River and its tributaries—the Big, Bourbeuse, Courtois and Huzzah rivers.
Volunteers are welcome, whether they come as individuals or groups. Water-borne participants must bring their own canoes or boats. Ground crews will comb river banks removing “litter” that includes everything from plastic cups to old tractor tires. Trash bags and work gloves are provided.
After the cleanup, join a picnic celebration at one of the staging areas, which include Greentree Park in Kirkwood, Arnold City Park, George Winter County Park in Fenton, Route 66 Park in Eureka, Meramec State Park east of Sullivan, Cedar Hill Access in Cedar Hill, the Beaufort Lions Club in Beaufort and the River Rats Landing in St. Clair. Food and drinks are provided.
For more information, visit online, or contact the St. Louis Region Open Space Council, (636) 451-6090, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor in Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair
Art Director - Cliff White
Writer/editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Arleasha Mays
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Circulation - Laura Scheuler