Clean Water

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From Missouri Conservationist: Sep 2009

Stream Team

Stream Team Celebrates 20th Birthday

  • Stream Team: Missouri Stream Team
  • Date formed: Feb. 1, 1989
  • Location: Statewide
  • For more info about Stream Teams: visit the links listed below.

When visionary Conservation Commissioner G. Andy Runge conceived the notion of a voluntary, citizen-directed stream-conservation movement, he could hardly have imagined how wildly it would succeed. Since the Roubidoux Fly Fishers became Stream Team No. 1 early in 1989, the program has grown to more than 4,000 teams with 80,000-plus individual members. On June 13 and 14, Stream Teamers from across the state gathered in Waynesville to celebrate their triumph. They recognized outstanding supporters, received accolades from Conservation Department Director John Hoskins and other dignitaries, networked to increase their effectiveness, roasted a whole hog, floated the Big Piney River and still found time to conduct water-quality monitoring and pick up nearly half a ton of trash from Roubidoux Creek. One celebrant summarized the experience, saying, “We are all family.” To sprout your own branch in this family or join an existing one, call (573) 522-4115, ext. 3591, or visit online.

Help Hellbenders

Report sightings of these endangered salamanders

Hellbenders, North America’s largest salamanders, begin life in Ozark streams as silvery-white eggs the size of nickels or quarters. Young hellbenders have external gills, which they lose at about two years of age. They can live 30 years and grow to more than 20 inches. Their splotchy, wrinkled skin and beady eyes give them a weird look, but they are completely harmless and endangered. If you see a hellbender, call (573) 522-4115, ext. 3201, and report its exact location, using landmarks if possible. The date of the sighting and the animal’s approximate length are important, too. For more information, visit the links listed below.

Little Fish in the Big Muddy

Their importance far outstrips their size.

When people think of fish in the Missouri River, they tend to think big – blue catfish, paddlefish and sturgeon. However, more than 50 of the Big Muddy’s finny species are smaller than your hand. Without them, the bigger fish would disappear. Smaller residents of the big river include the familiar bluegill, white bass, crappie and bullheads. Also familiar — as bait for crappie and other game fish — are the fathead minnow and golden shiner. Few Missourians have ever heard of the goldeye, sicklefin or sturgeon chub. This is partly because these Missouri River residents are relatively rare and go about their business quietly. That business involves converting tiny, sometimes microscopic, food into chunks of flesh and bone big enough to make meals for large fish, such as sauger, sturgeon and catfish, not to mention raccoons, otters, minks and birds, including herons, pelicans, diving ducks and terns. Silver and bighead carp and other exotic fish pose threats to the natural food chain, because they compete with native fish for food and quickly grow too large for many predators.

This Issue's Staff

Editor In Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Art Director - Cliff White
Writer/Editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler