MDC, partner agencies host public meeting March 18 to discuss Castor River watershed health

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will host a public meeting on March 18, from 6 to 8 p.m., to discuss the Castor River watershed. Representatives from MDC, Department of Natural Resources, US Amy Corps of Engineers, and Soil and Water Districts will attend the meeting at Berrong Church, 6631 State Highway E, Gipsy.

“We’ll talk about the river water quality, aquatic community, and overall watershed health,” said Christopher Kennedy, MDC’s southeast region fisheries supervisor. “This meeting will provide opportunities for people to share information and ask questions, so we can work well together as we manage the Castor River watershed.”

The four agencies will discuss their roles in management of the river, provide history of the watershed along with discussion of complications, provide an aquatic community and water quality status report, and discuss current issues. They will also outline the current process for data collection, including how landowners can be involved. Attendees at the meeting will have an opportunity to also sign up for Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Workshops and Stream Team activities.

Kennedy said Missouri has roughly 44 million acres of land, with only 1% of it publicly managed by MDC. According to United States Geological Survey (USGS), the name Upper Castor River is for the more northerly, 69-mile-long section of the original Castor River. Historically, the name Castor River applied to a 142-mile-long stream. However, in the early 20th century, the Castor River Diversion Channel was created and bisected the Castor River, causing the northern section of the stream to be diverted into the diversion channel, and separating the southern portion from its original headwaters.

“With passionate landowner assistance combined with agency cooperation and communication we can make the Castor River more sustainable for the future. We hope people will consider participating and learning more,” Kennedy said.

The meeting will involve formal presentations with limited seating. Register in advance to reserve a seat by calling MDC’s Southeast Regional Office at (573) 290-5730 before March 13.