Twenty-nine years ago, Missourians in the Meramec River Basin voiced their desire to preserve the river and its tributaries as places to paddle, swim and fish. The Meramec River Basin Summit Sept. 20-22 will celebrate that history and explore the river’s future.
In the historic vote, 60% of voters in east-central Missouri opposed the idea of damming the Meramec and Bourbeuse rivers. The spirit of citizen activism that led to the rejection of dam plans lives on today, with several grassroots organizations dedicated to keeping streams clean and developing their recreational potential. Among those is the Meramec River Tributary Alliance.
The alliance, an umbrella group for 40 groups, agencies and sponsors, is sponsoring the Summit. The event will bring together citizen advocates, private landowners and local, state and federal agencies to discuss the Meramec’s place in national stream-conservation efforts.
The summit coincides with the 40th anniversary of Operation Clean Stream, an annual event that has removed hundreds of tons of litter -- ranging from tin cans to automobiles -- from the Meramec River.
Sessions planned for the summit include presentations by river experts and historians, recreational and economic experts and citizen action groups. Landowners, business people, civic groups, scientists, educators, conservation groups, government planners and anyone with an interest in stream conservation are invited.
Participants will be able to choose from field trips that include:
--The Wurdack Farm Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station
--A hike on a section of the Ozark Trail
--A float on the Meramec River
--A demonstration of conservation practices at the Dale Murphy farm on the Little Bourbeuse River.
Contact The Open Space Council, PO Box 1468, Ballwin, MO 63022, phone (636) 334-3035, or visit www.openspacecouncilstl.org/.