Gobbledygook of Missouri stream protection
July 16, 2009
Ever wonder what happened to all the photos requested by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources that would demonstrate the recreational use of local streams and insure their protection?

Ken Midriff of the Sierra Club on July 8, 2009 had sent a message to Phil Schroeder, director of water resources of the MDNR, wanting to make sure he is correct in his assumption that the proposed 'Categorical UAA' [Use Attainability Analysis] will remove Whole Body Contact designation - and subsequent WQS (water Quality Sampling) to protect that use - from ALL ephemeral streams."

The response he received, albeit the same day, from Schroeder was:

The use of the word "categorical" may be misleading. The idea is that staff will perform a desk-top data evaluation of existing stream-specific hydrogeologic data (from land survey records and stream mapping services) in lieu of field collected data (instream depth measurements) for assessing attainability of the Whole Body Contact Recreation Use. Variables across the landscape (topography, permeability of substrates, stream bank structure, gradient and sinuosity, will likely affect how broadly we can apply these categorical, i.e. desk-top, assessments.

For example, if we determine with confidence that one stream in a ecoregion doesn't have the morphological characteristics indicative of streams historically determined to be supportive of a recreation use, can we apply the same conclusion to other streams of that size and morphic type within the same region? Because of variables that occur regionally, a state-wide application of an assessment is not likely to be feasible. We want to discuss with the group how to apply the desk-top data and what is needed in terms of statistical confidence. Also, we see no need to assess the whole state, but rather we intend to have the process in place to perform the UAA on an as-needed (or requested) basis.

We aren't sold yet on whether the process will work. We're still exploring it's feasibility.....

When asked what he thought the DNR did with all the photos they received, Bill Miller, an outspoken defender of stream preservation, commented:

..."They acted on them or found some way to exempt them as not being fully used for WBC. They (DNR) still wants to consider that only WBC [whole body contract] can be considered when the water is over one meter or three feet deep. 'Kind of silly when you go to any stream and see kids playing in six inches of water and having a ball.

I argue that sensitive body organs (eye, ear, nose and mouth) can and do get exposed no matter how deep the water is. Any time you have kids and animals (dogs) by a stream and the dog is in the water and the kid touches the pet and then touches his body the kid is exposing his sensitive organs to that water, WBC indeed!

And so we the saga goes on and on and on. Never ends and I do not see a hint of difference between the Blunt administration and the Nixon one. Nor a difference between Templeton and Childers and the action they are taking on things. I always thought we were looking for greener grass over the fence.

In some ways I still would have preferred Childers to the new one. At least he was out there talking and listening (not acting) to the public.

Where is Templeton and does he really exist?"

And so the clean water saga does go on and on. And Southwest Missouri falls off the map.

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