Clean Water

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From Missouri Conservationist: Jul 2008

Stream Team: Devil’s Elbow Hellbenders

Stream Team #: 27

Date formed: May 1989

Location: Big Piney River

For more info about Stream Teams: see links listed below

This Stream Team’s name comes from a local landmark and from the sighting of a dead hellbender—an endangered species—by team members. “That motivated us to do what we could for the river so we could see more of them,” said team leader Jerry Mitchell. The group of dedicated fishermen conducts several river cleanups throughout the year. That would be impossible without the help of Waynesville R-6 School students and Sellers-Sexton Ford, Mercury and Mazda. The auto dealer pays for disposing of old cars, hundreds of discarded tires and countless tons of other debris. “Pulaski County is beautiful and rugged,” said Mitchell. “When it rains, all kinds of things wash downstream. After this year’s flood it will probably take us another five or six years to get things back the way we had them. We want to make our streams as clean as we can, for us and for our kids.”

Aquatic Invaders

Snakeheads are the latest threat to our waters.

The discovery of northern snakeheads in east-central Arkansas in April emphasizes how vulnerable Missouri waters are to aquatic invasive species. The toothy Asian fish can exceed 3 feet in length. When young, the aggressive predator competes with bass, sunfish and other native fish for food. When it grows larger, it eats the competition. Other exotic invaders, ranging from zebra mussels to the microscopic didymo, or “rock snot,” threaten to disrupt sport fisheries that attract millions of dollars in tourist income to the Show-Me State annually. For more information about how to avoid spreading such aquatic curses, visit the links listed below.

Cut Smart to Protect Streams

Logging and stream health can be compatible.

Protecting wooded stream corridors doesn’t have to mean turning them into tree museums. You can have profitable, healthy streamside forests by following best management practices. “BMPs” include:

  • Leave an adequate streamside zone and never cut more than one-third of the mature trees in this area.
  • Minimize stream crossings, and build them at right angles to stream flow in areas with hard, relatively level bottoms.
  • Use rock or large stones to stabilize soil around culverts and permanent stream crossings.
  • Keep logging debris out of streams.
  • Locate portable sawmills away from streams.
  • Collect oil and other equipment service residue for proper disposal.
  • Locate log landings on stable, adequately drained soils and direct skidding away from the stream.
  • Do not alter stream flow.
  • Seed disturbed soil after logging.

For more about BMPs, visit online or write to MDC, Missouri Watershed Practice, PO Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180 or e-mail

This Issue's Staff

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
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Ruby
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler