Box 5.9. A Successful State Program In Stream Restoration
The Missouri Department of Conservation initiated a stream restoration program that is uniquely successful because it (1) is based on managements plans developed for each basin, instead of a piecemeal approach; (2) incorporates hydrological and geomorphological principles and information; (3) uses streams and stream corridors on public lands as models of good stream management practices; (4) increases citizen awareness of stream problems and involves local people in stream restoration; and (5) provides technical services and incentives to riparian landowners.
The stream program in the Department of Conservation germinated in 1984 when fishery biologists developed a plan in anticipation of the increased funding that was to come to the states through the Wallop-Breaux amendment to the Sports Fish Restoration Act. The technical services part of the plan was a direct response to a survey of 120 riparian landowners, 80 percent of whom felt they had problems with streams or stream banks. Of those with problems, 95 percent said they would ask for technical assistance if it were available. In 1989, what had been a fisheries program broadened into a department-wide effort, Streams for the Future, dedicated to the management, protection, and improvement of fish, wildlife, and forest resources associated with Missouri streams. The program was broadened because the department recognized that a larger effort was needed to stem the tide of stream degradation. Resource managers sometimes worked at cross-purposes: managers sometimes used practices detrimental to streams to achieve some specific management objective. Streams for the Future ensured that Department of Conservation lands were managed for the benefit of streams. Planners, engineers, and resource biologists began to interact and cross-train one another. Consultants in hydrology and geomorphology were brought in to conduct workshops for the staff and help plan the initial demonstration projects. The department also worked cooperatively with soil and water conservation districts and Soil Conservation Service hydrologists on comprehensive basin plans and local projects.
Although increased public awareness of stream problems and technical assistance to riparian land owners were always important objectives of the program, public participation in stream restoration received a boost in 1988 when a forum of concerned citizens developed a long list of river needs that included litter control, bank stabilization, restoration of fish and wildlife habitat, and water quality monitoring. In response,