Marty King was one of a small group of visionaries who launched Missouri Stream Team in 1989. So you have to wonder why it took him and fly-fishing buddy Bill Armon until 1993 to form a Stream Team of their own.
“I was more than happy just to work in an advisory capacity to the Federation,” says King, “speaking to small groups and clubs to get them onboard. But after Joe Bachant (the Conservation Department’s first Stream Team coordinator) got one started I felt it was obligatory to establish one on behalf of the Federation.”
The project was a natural fit for the two fly-fishers, whose families could field 15 people for projects. Their efforts have benefitted the Big, Current, Meramec and North Fork rivers.
“They were good rivers to float and definitely needed a good cleaning,” says King. “We would go for a family weekend on the river and pick it up as we would go. My family had done that for a long time. We were big picker-uppers, even before there was a Stream Team.”
Besides picking up trash, Stream Team 421 took Volunteer Water Quality Monitor training and made special trips to check water quality on the Current, Meramec and Big rivers.
Fisheries Management Biologist Mark VanPatten calls King “a Missouri rivers and streams hero.”
“Marty championed Stream Teams and spread the gospel throughout the state,” says VanPatten. “There are very few, if any, meetings, events, conferences and on-the ground litter pickups that Marty hasn’t attended statewide over the last 21 years. The number would easily be in the hundreds if not thousands.”
Asked about his favorite part of having a Stream Team, King says, “Missouri is blessed with so many beautiful streams, it’s hard to pick one thing. I would say just being there.”
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