cleansweep

Hinkson Clean Sweep is this Saturday, October 11

Activities: Work with other volunteers from the City of Columbia to clean up area streams.
Date: Saturday, October 10, 2014
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Place: Various locations around Columbia

What to Expect: Basically the most rockin’ trash bash this side of the Missouri. Mike Heimos, the City of Columbia’s stormwater educator, has been running the show for at least ten years, but he goes so hard he doesn’t pause to count them. The first year he tried a city cleanup, 48 people showed up. Last year? 2,400.

They’re all marching under the banner of the Columbia Crawdads, a city-wide Stream Team that, Heimos says, “has such an amazing following. It just blows my mind.”

He’s not exaggerating. In addition to collecting more than a ton of trash each Clean Sweep, cleanup groups now hit Columbia streams 2-3 times each month. The Stormwater Education Facebook page has more than 1,300 fans, some of its YouTube videos have thousands of views, and its Instagram cranks out hundreds of photos of the faces and places the Heimos crew works to restore.

What to Do: Well, first and foremost, you have to register. Go do that now and come back to us. We’ll wait…

Ok, so you know where you’re going? You can start showing up there any time after 9:30 A.M. You’ll sign in your group, get your clean up supplies and receive instructions from the Stream Captains. Then you’ll pick up trash! You’ll make new friends! It’ll be great.

What to Bring:  Yourself and everyone in your group! All supplies will be provided for at your site – clean up bags, gloves, just about everything you will need. Just make sure you have your toes covered and you’re comfortable in the weather.

Where you can go from here: “The goal of the Clean Sweep is to let people know they can do cleanups in Columbia as a volunteer opportunity,” Heimos says. “What we’ve found is, we don’t need to do this anymore; Once volunteers come and do it, they realize they can continue throughout the year.” In the past two months, for instance, Heimos has arranged 16 cleanups, and he only had to meet with a quarter of them to get them started. The rest already knew the drill.

“In Columbia, the polluter is us,” Heimos says. “We’re a suburban/urban area, there’s no factory on the hill pumping out pollution. It’s us: motor oil, cigarette butts, pet waste, Shakespeare’s cups, Harpo’s cups, plastic spoons and straws.”

So now’s your chance to turn “people pollution” into “people solutions.” Go sweep the Hinkson clean, and let us know how it goes!

For more information: Peruse the “Clean Sweeper’s Rules.” or email volunteer@GoColumbiaMo.com.

25th-ST_Logo-Color-FinalThis is one of your last chances at Stream Team 25th Anniversary greatness. So enjoy the fall day, get those last stamps on your passport, and look forward to cool prizes!

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FLLOG beat us to an Anniversary Float (but now we’re even more excited)

You might think you have float trips down to a science, and perhaps a lot of you do. But in a society that’s more rife with “social media specialists” than “mountain men,” I’d say the world still needs some guides. Like Colin Fletcher, for instance; Have you heard of him? Known as “the grandfather of backpacking,” and revered by adventurers worldwide, his writings were part poetry, part prose and part guidebook. Over the years, I’ve found myself thinking, “It sure would be nice to have a Colin Fletcher figure here in good old Missouri.”

Well guess what: we do! There’s a blog called FLLOG that does much the same thing: beautiful descriptions and pictures of river floats, peppered with comments on gear, logistics and “critter counts.” They’ve logged more than 100 river floats in and around Missouri, and each trip is worth a thorough read. In honor of our upcoming Anniversary Float Trip, the good authors of FLLOG agreed to share past tales of the Current River. Here’s the first one, from an anniversary celebration of their own:

Cedar Grove to Two Rivers

Current River
Shannon County, Missouri
Wednesday, September 28 – Thursday, September 29
44 Miles

In celebration of our wedding anniversary, DW and I completed our first overnight kayak trip. After all, what is more romantic than sleeping on a gravel bar? We had spent the previous weekend dragging out all our backpacking gear, which hadn’t been used in almost 6 years, sorting and packing it all into small dry bags. We packed the boats and did a test run on the Meramec near home. Everything seemed to fit well and the boats were well balanced, so we unpacked it all into the car and headed down to the Current River for our first overnight trip with kayaks. We hadn’t floated the Current in nearly 2 years. Back when we only had the canoe we had done a couple week-long trips down to Van Buren, so we are pretty familiar with the Current when it comes to overnight trips. We scheduled a car shuttle from the outfitter at Two Rivers. It was a little pricey, but the drive from Cedar Grove to the take out is over an hour long. Once we got to the access we repacked everything in the kayaks.

DW took the red Perception kayak instead of his regular blue kayak. His blue Perception Montour is very narrow and can’t hold much. The red Perception Prodigy is very wide and there is plenty of room in the front and back to stuff a bunch of gear. My Dagger Axis 10.5 turned out to be nearly perfect for overnight packing. There was plenty of room in the front to slide long things (extra paddle, camp seat and several small bags) and the sealed hull held a lot more than I thought it would. I did have to be careful to balance the front and back of the boat so both ends turned at the same rate. Otherwise the front would turn quickly while the back just sat there. We also bought a bunch more small fabric dry bags. The regular vinyl dry bags are hard to stuff into small spaces (too much friction against the plastic boat) and the fabric ones work well as long as you don’t submerge them in water for a long time.

current river, kayak overnight

current river, cedar grove

The biggest hurdle to overnight kayaking is alcohol. You really can’t pack much beer on a kayak and drinking hard alcohol all day can turn into a kayak-flipping disaster. We decided two days at a time was feasible to carry beer. If we did more than two days we would carry hard alcohol and soda and just not drink as much and start drinking late in the day. Of course you could always decided to not drink at all, but that would eliminate most of the challenge!

We launched our boats from Cedar Grove at 11am on Wednesday morning. It was a little later than we wanted to start, but still feasible to make it to our halfway point, Pulltite Spring 18 miles downriver. When we tested our boats at home we did not have all the food & beer packed, so the kayaks were a little more heavy than we anticipated. So now we’re paddling heavy boats 18 miles in 7 hours. Better paddle hard!

current river

current river, medlock spring

medlock spring, current river

Our first stop was at Medlock Spring. Medlock is a small spring that gushes from tiny opening in the rocks and tumbles down to the river. There is also a cave up above the spring opening, but we did not explore as we had 16 miles left to paddle.

Two miles down from Medlock is Welch Spring. Welch Spring is in the top 10 of Missouri’s largest springs and has a powerful flow. The spring gushes out of a cave opening and runs into the river with such force that it overtakes the current of the stream. Welch spring was originally homesteaded in 1855 by Thomas Welch, who then ran a grist mill on the spring until the turn of the 20th century. Then it was bought by Dr. Diehl in 1913. Dr. Diehl built a hospital over an opening in the cave and planned to attract patients suffering from breathing ailments to the healing spring waters and cave vapors. His project never really took off as the roads in the Ozarks were little more than rough trails at the time and it was hard to attract patients to the middle of nowhere. The walls of the hospital building still stand at the edge of the spring. It’s neat to wander around the building and imagine what it would have been like to be treated for consumption in the middle of the wilderness in 1915.

current river, welch spring

current river, welch spring

current river

Three miles down from Welch is Akers Ferry. This is the last operational ferry in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. There is also an access and camp store on the left side of the river. The ferry runs during daylight hours and is only $4 per vehicle to cross. It has been in operation for over 50 years but I have only seen it running once so I don’t think it gets too much traffic these days.

current river, akers ferry

current river, akers ferry

current river, blue heron Continue reading

silvercarp

One Fish, Two Fish, Brave Fish, Tasty Fish. Lots of fish news this week.

photo from Michigan Sea Grant

When we monitor streams, we give a lot of love to the Macroinvertebrates, but skeletal creatures indicate water quality, too! Here’s a roundup of trials and comebacks our fish buddies have gone through lately. Check out these links; You might be suprised what you learn.


Brave New Fish. Nancy Gross reports a curious new finding on the Water Effiency editor’s blog :

A study published by researchers at Umeå University “showed that remnants of oxazepam, a drug used for anxiety, resulted in braver and more curious activity among normally timid fish. Individuals exposed to the drug examined their surroundings more freely than normally,” the Helsinki Times recently recently reported


Good: sturgeon return. Bad: rockfish fall. Ugly: a killer plant comes back to the bay. Washington Post’s Darryl Fears outlines the perils of living in Chesapeake Bay:

It is a sign of troubling times in America’s largest estuary, even in the midst of an aggressive anti-pollution effort that is in its fourth year. The bay is beset by man-made waste and overfishing. And it is laced with diseases that take the lives of countless oysters and striped bass and with chemicals that are changing the sex of male smallmouth bass.

But the sturgeon is a sign that the bay can recover. And even though the numbers of striped bass are down, they’re not at the historic lows of the mid-1980s, when several states were forced to halt fishing to help them recover.


Great Lakes States to Track Asian Carp and Prepare for Future Invasions. Kaye LaFond of freshwater news source Circle of Blue reports:

 

The less threatening nature of the grass carp gives various state, federal, and provincial agencies from around the Great Lakes a unique opportunity to practice for what would be a true emergency: the establishment of silver or bighead carp in Lake Erie or other Great Lakes waterways.


Battle over caviar production rages in Missouri, Oklahoma. Published earlier this year, but no less timely, Al Jazeera ran this story by Missouri’s own Ryan Schuessler:

 Decades ago, the international caviar market was on the verge of collapse. In the years leading up to and following the demise of the Soviet Union, beluga sturgeon in the Caspian Sea were overfished. By the late ’80s, they were on the verge of extinction and became a protected species. Demand for the delicacy remained high, supply plummeted and prices soared.

Half a world away in the Missouri Ozarks, Jim Kahrs, Steve and Pete’s father, saw that as an opportunity and became one of the early players in the American caviar market, turning his family-run fishery into an international caviar exporter.


Got any fish news of your own? Leave us a comment on this post! But please — no fishing tales.

freshwatermussel

Everything you need to know about the Midwest’s fresh water mussels

Once again, here’s a warm welcome to the MObugs blog genius Shelly Cox . She’s been kind enough to share some of her writing on aquatic insects with the whole Stream Team community. Go check out her blog, which features really beautiful, exclusive photos, and a lot of  insider knowledge on the whole bug community.

This past 4th of July we spent an evening at the farm. We enjoyed a cookout, great friends and fireworks. The kids swam in the pond and soon discovered mussels underfoot. They grabbed up hundreds of them and placed them in a 5 gallon bucket. They were having fun finding them. I decided I wanted to try and cook some. So I kept 20 or so, and threw the rest back into the pond. I brought the mussels home and soaked them in water for a few hours, and then sauteed them in butter, onion and some seasoning. They were not near as good as I had hoped for. They maintained a muddy taste from the muddy bottom of the pond. I suppose if I had soaked them for a longer period to time it could have helped. If anyone has prepared these with success, please let me in on the secret.


As you can see the kids were having fun diving for mussels in our pond. What a great way to spend a hot summer day!

There are hundreds of fresh water mussels in the World, and nearly 300 of them live in North America. In fact North America is home to the largest variety of mussels compared to anywhere else in the World. Many are in threat of becoming endangered, in fact the estimate is as high as 3/4 of the known species may be in peril. As many as 35 species have already gone extinct. The Midwestern portion of the United States contains the highest concentration of species, Missouri alone is home to some 65 species. Native Americans utilized mussels as an important part of their diet. Not only were they a valuable food source for tribes throughout the Midwest, but they also held value in other ways. The shells were used for tempering pottery and tools, they also made jewelry, and utensils. In the late 1800’s “white man” recognized the potential value of the shells in the fashion industry. The button industry reached a boon during this time in history and many mussels were collected for the “mother-of-pearl” and sold to the button factories. The epicenter for the button industry was right in the good old Midwest. Continue reading

work hard float trip

Our gift to Stream Teamers: a weekend on the Current River

Party time! Unless you’re a water penny beetle, you’ve probably heard about our Silver Celebration Float on the Current River. But hey, maybe you are a water penny beetle. So let’s be inclusive. We’ll start from the beginning, and end with the details.

The Basics

To celebrate 25 years of supreme Stream Team success, we’re gathering all our friends together on the Current River the weekend of October 10-12 [jump to the full schedule].

Current River Canoes

We’re putting ya’ll in sturdy canoes and at pretty campsites, and we’re making sure you’re well fed, to boot. You’ll see a couple different stretches of the river, and we’ll take care of the shuttle.

 

Current River Float Reg Fee

The cost to you? $75, and just $50 for the kids. That ain’t bad, folks. That. Ain’t. Bad.

Current River Be PreparedRivers sure are pretty in the rain, don’t ya think?

Current River CampAnd all you gotta do is bring the essentials!

(But feel free to bring a little more, since we’re camping at the same place both nights.)

 Formsz

Oh, and register! Don’t forget to register. The deadline is September 16. Fill out the form online here.

Extra Info:

  • All meals Friday dinner through Sunday lunch are provided.
  • We’ll also give you your own straw hat and dry bag.
  • If you’re a little uneasy in a canoe, we’re giving paddling lessons on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.
  • Pets and alcohol are not allowed.
  • No personal canoes! Relax and let us take care of everything for you.

The Schedule

Friday evening: Check in at Pulltite campground, set up camp, and see a program on Stream Team history at the ampitheatre. After your bout of inspiration, network and relax by the campfire.

Saturday: Check-in continues and breakfast is served. Starting at 9, we’ll load up and launch groups of floaters 20 minutes apart. Stop at a gravel bar with your box lunch, and be sure to pull off near Cave Spring for a Fish Shocking Demonstration! See fish that get pulled up, maybe even net some!

That night, it’s dinner, campfire networking, and if you’re feeling confident, you can bring out your musical instruments!

Sunday: After launching at 8 a.m., stop for another gravel bar lunch, and then see a water quality demonstration near Round Spring. We’ll get you off the river by 2-3 in the afternoon, when you can get shuttled back to Pulltite and pack up.

Details will be in the packet we send to registered Stream Teamers. Register online here by September 16 to reserve your canoe!

For more information,

Contact the good folks at Missouri Stream Team: 1 (800) 781-1989, streamteam@mdc.mo.gov, or contact your coordinator.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

How one man decided to “be the change” on the Niangua River

Yesterday on the Niangua River, hundreds of volunteers dispersed across the water, in canoes donated by local outfitters. Armed with gloves and litter bags, they picked litter out of tree roots, off of riverbanks, and from wherever else they could see it.

This was the sixth cleanup of Stream Team’s 25th Anniversary Celebration. This was also the ninth year of one man’s vision for a cleaner stream and more connected community.


Check out this video by Ozark Traditions TV

About ten years ago, Carl Romesburg was fed up with seeing trash on the popular floating and fishing stream he called home–So he took action, founding a cleanup to get his whole community to reclaim the Niangua’s natural beauty.

Declaring, “It’s100% or not at all,” Carl used his vacation time to call a hundred Camden, Dallas and Laclede County groups and businesses for donations and volunteers. Some voiced their support, while others told him he was wasting his time. Some people even said he had lost his mind. “Honestly, that pushed me a little harder,” he says. 

That first cleanup started out with 80 volunteers and seven outfitters that donated canoes and shuttle services. It’s a unique arrangement; most other litter pickups require volunteers to bring their own canoe. “It would fail if I didn’t have those outfitters,” Carl says.

The past few years have drawn more than 200 volunteers to the annual cleanup. “We get little kids, 5- and 6-year-olds, up to 85-year-old kids, too,” Carl says. “They show up, we get them on the bus, send them off and then they come back.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEvery piece of the Niangua cleanup puzzle is built out of community support. “A woman, a local river rat who does trash pickup for area campgrounds, gathers all the bags,” Carl says. “She goes and picks up all the trash at each section, brings it to the picnic and puts it in a pile, so everybody can stand out and get your picture taken before we get to eat.”  Even the picnic is provided by community donors.

The result is a cleaner river and more connected community. It’s a touching thing to experience, Carl says. “You get a little choked up because you see what happens out there.”

Roubidoux

Roubidoux Fly Fishers Cleanup

Activities: Join Stream Team 1 on the creek where it all started! The Roubidoux Fly Fishers Association (RFFA) invites any and all Stream Teamers to assist with their annual cleanup.
Date: Saturday, August 30, 2014
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Place: Pavilion #3 in Waynesville City Park

Roubidoux 2

What to expect: Once in the park, look for the banner. After the cleanup, the RFFA will provide fried chicken for a potluck lunch. Everyone is asked to bring their favorite side dish. An RSVP is required for an accurate head count for the chicken.

The RFFA also asks they you bring your own canoe or small watercraft. Shuttling will be available. The Roubidoux is mostly wadeable with some deep pools.

Directions:

To RSVP, call Lou Runnalls and leave a message: 573.336.5312 or email Todd Sparks at: toddesparks@gma​il.com.

25th-ST_Logo-Color-Final(white-center)Passport stamps will be available at this event. What’s a passport stamp? Why, it’s your gateway to fun, prizes, and Stream Team glory! Click here for more information and here for details on all upcoming 25th Anniversary events.

OCS1

47th Annual Operation Clean Stream + Passport to clean water

cleanstream_drop_middle_withOSCActivities: Join thousands of other volunteers to clean the shores and waters of the Meramec River in this project run by the Open Space Council for the St. Louis Region.
Date: August 23-24, 2014
Time: 8:00 a.m.
Place: State Parks and other sites along the Meramec (full list below).

What to expect: Since 1967, The Open Space Council for the St. Louis Region has organized Operation Clean Stream. Volunteers take to the Meramec River and its tributaries, working to undo damage caused throughout the year by flooding, careless littering and the unlawful dumping of trash. Volunteers participate both in canoes and boats, as well as on the shore, in nearby parks, and along nearby trails. In 2013, more than 3000 volunteers pulled 2,607 tires and 351 cubic yards of trash from the river.

girlsWhat to expect if you’re a youth: You are extra special. The Passport to Clean Water Program began in 2012 as an educational tool for young, Operation Clean Stream volunteers. Each year, organizations throughout the St. Louis Region, whose mission includes water quality, facilitate educational, interactive activities, discussions, and explorations that explain different aspects of water with youth and their families. Our goal with this program is to provide all participants with crucial, take-home knowledge on how they can improve water quality in their own daily lives

The Passport to Clean Water program will take place on August 23, 2014 in Greentree Park in Kirkwood, MO and is free and open to all youth ages 5-18.  The program will run from 11 am – 1:00 pm.  

OCS1

OCS Locations:

Arnold City Park — Volunteers should meet at 8:00 am. The park is located at: 1 Bradley Beach Rd, Arnold, MO 63010

Greentree Park — Volunteers should meet at 9:00 am at the shelter. The park is located at: 2202 Marshall Rd, Kirkwood, MO 63122

George Winter Park, Volunteers should meet between 8:00 am and 9:00 am at the main picnic  shelter. The park is located at: 401 Allen Road, Saint Louis, MO 63026

Route 66 State Park — Volunteers should meet between 7:00 am to 8:00 am at the Route 66 State Park Visitor Center (Exit 266) located at: 97 N Outer Rd E #1, Eureka, MO 63025

 Meramec State Park — Volunteers should meet at 8:00 am at Shelter #2. The park is located at: 115 Meramec Park Drive, Sullivan, MO 63080-4271. Lunch for volunteers will be at 12:30 pm

Castlewood State Park — Volunteers should meet at 9:00 am at the east side of the River Access Day use Area located at: 1401 Kiefer Creek Rd, Ballwin, MO 63021

For more information: Visit the official Operation Clean Stream site.

25th-ST_Logo-Color-FinalSubmit an activity report to claim your stake in the mega-cool drawing for Stream Team 25th Anniversary greatness. Time is running out to fill up your passport, but you can still check out the fall events, including a float on the Current River!

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Race for the Rivers (and other stuff, too!) is August 23

Logo_R4R_no_dateActivities: Paddle races, bike rides and races and a big environmental and outdoors festival.
Date: Saturday, August 23, 2014
Time: Registration opens at 8:30 a.m., Festival starts at 11:00 a.m.
Place: Frontier Park, (850 Riverside Drive) in historic St. Charles

What to expect: Whether you’re an avid paddler looking to get in on a competitive river race, or simply in search of laid-back family fun, Race for the Rivers 2014 is the event you’ve been searching for! With water education, restoration and recreation as the focus, The Greenway Network is set to stage their eighth annual Missouri River paddling event on the weekend of August 23, 2014. A drawing will also be held for a new Chevy Sonic donated by Poage Chevrolet.

greenwaynetworkIt’s for a good cause: The Race for the Rivers is the primary fundraising event for Greenway Network, an all-volunteer organization promoting clean water through research, restoration, education and recreation programs. Each year, Greenway Network helps remove tons of trash, plants thousands of native plants and puts hundreds of people on the water to experience our great rivers first hand. 

Directions:

 

For more information: Visit www.racefortherivers.org

25th-ST_Logo-Color-Final(white-center)Race your favorite vessel or attend the festival to get your very own stamp on your very own Stream Team 25th Anniversary Passport. We’ll give you a cooler once you attend five events, and for every event you go to, we’ll enter your name to win a kayak or other prizes. Too bad you can’t race it this year, but there’s always next year…

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NORP Report #1: Meramec Float was a doozy.

photos from Larry Cain

These pictures are from the 5-mile Meramec River float from Sappington Bridge to Meramec State Park, on July 27.  The participants are all stream team folks who attended the Meramec Watershed Celebration on the previous day. Most camped the weekend at Meramec State Park. The weather was beautiful and a good time was had by all.

 

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