Category Archives: Stewardship

300 storm drains in St. Charles County are now a little bit smarter

Greenway Network is working with St. Charles County Department of Health and Environment to get 9,000 storm drains marked in unincorporated St Charles County.

In 2014 monthly marking events took place on the first Saturday of each month, weather permitting.  We had about 30 volunteers who marked an estimated 300 storm drains over the summer.

An educational flyer describing the importance of no dumping into storm drains was also placed at all residences along the routes where storm drains were marked.

Greenway Network will continue the event in 2015.  Anyone can join in the fun! This is a great activity for a small group to do on their own time.  Greenway Network makes kits available to community groups and residents.

Look for more information about dates and times for 2015 events on the Greenway Network webpage.

Advertisements

Niangua River cleanup: 3 truckloads of trash, 80 businesses and 180 volunteers

The Niangua River cleanup has an inspiring backstory, and this year’s event near Bennett Spring State Park really followed through on nearly ten years of service. Organizer Carl Romesburg shared the community effort’s stats:

  • We had more than 180 registered volunteers, not counting the bus drivers, canoe loaders, cooks, food servers and of course the folks who work so hard to organize this event.
  • We had more than 80 businesses in Laclede, Dallas and Camden counties donate everything from food to prizes.
  • We have 6 outfitters who donate the buses, canoes and their time to support the cleanup:
  • We picked up about 3 huge truckloads of trash.

This picture only shows a small amount of the volunteers. Most were still out on the river.

Greenway Network monitors every place a road crosses Dardenne Creek

photos by Bob Virag, Stream Team volunteer
words by Larry Ruff, Greenway Network 

Dardenne Creek is 27 miles long.  It originates in Warren County, flows northwest through St. Charles County and empties into the Mississippi River directly north of St. Peters.  It is a pretty creek in its headwaters–Ozarkian in nature.

ST 463 Dardenne Day 10-12-14-A little rain doesn't stop us!
Monica Hull, Larry Ruff, and Matt Hull kick around looking for macroinvertebrates on October 12, 2014. A little rain doesn’t stop us!

In the ’20s and ’30s, farmers channelized the creek in the flatter regions of the county. Those farms have become hundreds of subdivision neighborhoods. It crosses I-70 at St. Peters and runs through he Mississippi River floodplain. Every where a road crosses the creek, Greenway Network tries to monitor that site.

Lindenwood Univ student volunteers
Lindenwood University students enjoying lunch provided by Greenway Network after the stream monitoring.
Gail Johnston ST 2819 & Larry Ruff ST 463
Gail Johnston is a Biology instructor at Lindenwood University (ST 2819) in St. Charles and always brings students to Dardenne Day.

We’ve been doing Dardenne Day for at least 14 years. Monitoring takes place in the Spring and the Fall. This year, Dardenne Day was part of 25 Days of Stream Team.

In the Spring: 19 sites on the creek were monitored by 29 volunteers, 9 different Stream Teams.

In the Fall: 16 sites monitored by 10 volunteers, 5 Stream Teams.

Curious about how all these site visits turned out? Download results here and see for yourself! Macro ratings ranged from 0 to 25, pH hovered around 8.2, and they even logged e. coli numbers. Very interesting.

If you want to get involved with Dardenne Day or any of the other great events put on all year by Greenway Network, visit their website.

Snail Case Maker Caddisfly (Helicopsychidae)
Snail Case Maker Caddisfly (Helicopsychidae)

 

River des Peres Trash Bash: how it feels to make a four-ton impact

photos by Gabe Cotton

It is about 9:30 am, on a 55 degree Saturday morning in mid-October, and I am up to my shoulders in Gravois Creek. I have a rope wrapped around a gloved hand, with a paddle in my other hand, pulling a recently submerged canoe, half filled with dumped tires. Welcome to the River des Peres Trash Bash!

– Gabe Cotton, “Stream Team Adventures: My Gravois Creek float trip at the Trash Bash! 10/18/2014” on Camping Missouri

Gabe Cotton was one of 350 volunteers who came to the River des Peres Trash Bash, and his awesome blog post about it details every step of the way. We’re thrilled to reprint part of his story here, and happily report that his estimated 40 tires added up to 92 total tires removed, and his bags of trash were part of more than 4.33 tons collected that day. Here’s Gabe’s story, in his own words:

“Walking next to a canoe in the slow moving creek, I was making my way through the water, looking for that unmistakable round silhouette. Reaching down to pull out a tire, then taking a few steps to discover another one. It is a process of popping it loose from the mud, scraping the lodged dirt out from inside it, and then dumping as much water out before setting the tire in the canoe to be taken, after it is filled, downstream to where a group of volunteers was waiting to help load them into a trailer. I had pulled out about 14 tires from a 50 foot stretch of Gravois Creek, decided that was enough for a load, hopped in the canoe and started paddling my way to the people on the bank that were going to do the hard part. It wasn’t 30 seconds on my way that I heard the sound of rushing water. Had I thought about it, I should have stayed out of the canoe, guiding it to our landing point…but I thought that it might be nice to ride my way there, take a minute to sit and be out of the filthy water, and pull in triumphantly with my bounty of rubber and tread. Yeah, one side of the canoe had dipped below the surface due to all the weight in it, and my boat was taking on water.

At that point there is nothing you can do to stop it. It will continue to fill, and I felt that if I could pull it submerged with the air trapped in the upright tires to keep them afloat within its gunwales, I could probably get them all to where I was heading with just a bit more effort than I was planning. And that’s when I hit the deep part.

2014-10-22 15.49.26So there I was, paddle in one hand, rope in the other, swimming through the mucky water of Gravois Creek while pulling a submerged canoe with a trail of floating tires behind me. I had bitten off more tires than I could chew, and learned an embarrassing yet valuable lesson about capacity and enthusiasm that I wasn’t going to forget. Luckily I had a more seasoned veteran than myself by the name of Jay in another canoe following behind me, grabbing all the tires that had escaped. I made it to shore, unloaded the four tires I had left, and then pulled the canoe out and dumped the water, so that I could head right back in to go collect more.

This was my Saturday morning float trip on Gravois Creek in South St. Louis County, and disgusting as it was, it was one of the most satisfying adventures I have had that involved a canoe.

All in all, I estimate that Jay and I pulled probably 40 tires out of about a tenth of a mile of Gravois Creek. And there are still so many tires left.

It is a perverse and irresponsible satisfaction, that exposes one to bacteria and chemicals that we should all stay away from. The hook that gets you is when you see that pile of tires you removed heading down the road in a trailer on their way to their proper resting place, and not in the creek anymore. It makes you really see and feel the impact you can have on the health of a natural place.”

Big thanks to Gabe for giving permission to repost this. Make sure to check out all his writings in his blog, Camping Missouri.

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!

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.”

YOU get a car! And YOU get a car! And YOU get a car! (Just mark some storm drains!)

Activities: Enter to win a car and Join Greenway Network and the St. Charles County greenwaynetworkDepartment of Health to mark more than 9,000 storm drains in St. Charles County!
stcharlesDate: Saturday, August 2, 2014
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Place: Sites in every corner of St. Charles County

Why mark storm drains? Some people still dump chemicals, trash and household waste down storm drains. Is it carelessness? Is it ignorance? We’re going to try and make sure it’s not the latter. Passive and permanent education doesn’t get much better than on-site, at-your-feet advice about exactly where those storm drains lead.

What you get out of the deal: Every storm drain volunteer gets entered to win a new Chevy Sonic for the Poage Chevrolet Volunteer with Greenway  drawing. You’ll also feel an huge sense of accomplishment for something incredibly easy.

Seriously, after just two hours out on the streets, you can literally look behind you and see the impact you have on stormwater education. And we say there’s nothing wrong with instant gratification.

What to expect: Be prepared to drive to sites throughout St. Charles County as well as do some walking or wheeling from drain to drain.

Storm drain marking will continue on the first Saturday of each month through October. You can register online at www.greenwaynet​work.org.

What to bring: Dress for the weather. Wear shoes made for walking.

For more information: Contact Larry Ruff at greenwaynetwork​@gmail.com or call (636) 498-0772 to register and arrange site locations.

Directions to the rendezvous site:


For more information, visit www.greenwaynet​work.org.

PS – The raffle winner will be announced at Greenway Network’s Race for the Rivers fundraiser, August 23. Come to the festival, paddle in a cool race, or join Ride for the Rivers if boats aren’t your thing.

 —
25th-ST_Logo-Color-FinalThis storm drain event  is part of “25 Days of Stream Team”.  If you submit an activitiy report, it counts as a stamp on your stream team passport, which means you can win even more prizes! Learn more about all 25+ Anniversary events and the passport program

Jacks Fork Cleanup Results

Members of the  Scenic Rivers Stream Team Association crew sure know how to draw a crowd!

JFcleanup
Many dozens of participants at the 16th Annual Jacks Fork Cleanup.

By all measures, the 16th Annual Jacks Fork Cleanup was a major success. It was a great turnout, and look at all this trash they saved from the streams and banks:

  • 7 tires
  • 1 tractor tire
  • 11 large green mesh bags
  • 80 red mesh bags
  • 4 large trash bags
  • 2 grills
  • 1 Sleeping bag
  • Chimney Tiles
  • 8×8 post with eye bolt
  • Spray cans
  • Hitching post

And that’s only naming the highlights! 

Photos courtesy of Angel Kruzen and Ted Haviland.

101_0363
Bay Creek’s looking a whole lot cleaner thanks to these good Stream Team citizens!
This lucky Stream Teamer won a canoe for coming out and cleaning Jacks Fork. Lucky duck!
This smiling Stream Teamer won a canoe for coming out and cleaning Jacks Fork. Lucky duck!

Plan out next year’s cleanup excursion early! Why not? You can read our event preview from June here.

10367790_10152453341063374_2321976115843978603_n
Did you know that the Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coalition helps Stream Teams dispose of tires for free? Click here for more information. It could save your team lots of dollars!
10351373_10152453340353374_844627142289776452_n
“Stash your trash.” But you already knew that.

Did you attend the Jacks Fork Cleanup, or one of its sister events, like the one on the Current? Let us know how it went in the comments below!

Declare Independence from trashy boat accesses!

It’s about to be a big week for the Missouri River. Not only will its banks and its barges see a ton of Fourth of July action, but the MR340 is coming round the bend July 8th through 11th [edit: the race has been postponed to mid-August; another month to clean your access!]

Missouri River Relief Stream Team 1875 is facilitating a “Do-It-Yourself” cleanup of Missouri River boat accesses. Volunteers are invited to adopt a Missouri River access near them for the week, help clean up trash from Independence Day weekend, and show the MR340 race participants how clean we keep our Missouri River boat ramps!

Access adopters will be responsible for disposing of the trash they pick up, and River Relief will assist in this process. Stream Team and River Relief will supply trash bags, gloves, and a Stream Team 25th anniversary t-shirt. Click here to sign up, or for more information, email riverrelief@riv​errelief.org. Deadline to register to receive supplies will be Monday, June 23rd.

Happy Water Watch Week!

Watershed organizations in the Ozarks have joined with business and community partners to sponsor Water Watch Week: 14 days for water-minded people to attend workshops, network and enjoy the water!

For details on all events (including ones in Arkansas!), visit www.waterwatchw​eek.org or click on the links below:

For more information about events visit www.waterwatchw​eek.org or call (417) 739-5001.