MDNR response to stream team data: same old b.s.?
April 26, 2006
In response to an editorial in the Joplin Globe, "In our view...Kudos to Stream Team," Cindy Davies, director of the Southwest Regional Office of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, as a guest columnist, presented what could be construed to be an attempt to de-throne the Carthage High School Stream Team Members whom the Globe had saluted.

Davies in an obvious defense of her often criticized department spent a couple of paragraphs claiming that "the stream team was not analyzing or interpreting the samples correctly" that had shown high fecal levels in their testing area.

Additionally, in a reference to a public meeting held by the team in February 2005 she further emphasizes that "...there were issues with the integrity of the Stream Team's results....." as noted by Bruce Martin, former director of the Southwest Regional Office.

In response to Davies' article, Frank Martinez, speaking on behalf of the Carthage High School Stream Team members, said:

In reference to the article, we have come to the conclusion that it is the same old case of deniability. Their rationale is that if they can throw reasonable doubt on the data then they can justify their lack of action.

The testing procedures are EPA approved and the simplicity of the test would even enable an individual like Cindy Davies to do the test with an accuracy level that again is EPA accepted. We reported numbers as were indicated and if she or any member of DNR want to dispute them they may do so, but we will continue to do our sampling and report the numbers.

It has to be noted that in spite of the department's criticisms, Davies says, "the department did not intend to ignore its findings." She admits that the department did narrow down a source of pollution to "one specific area of the stream."

That finding apparently was made in March of 2005. More than one year later her department has not pinpointed the source that continues to degrade the waterway. "Once the source is identified, the department will require the problem be corrected," Davies says.

We say, what year will that be?

If as Davies says, "Water quality and the residents of Missouri all benefit from an effective government and the residents through the Stream Team effort," then rather than spend time writing memorials to her department, she should devote more time to an effective use of Stream Team data and a resolution to the degradation that data represents.

Results of testing by the Carthage High School Stream Team as presented in a meeting at the beginning of April 2006 not attended by the DNR are noted here.

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