SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Nov. 17, 2011 – The Missouri Department of Natural Resources today announced Our Missouri Waters, a new watershed-based approach that will change the way the department conducts water resource management.
Speaking at the Tri-State Water Resource Coalition annual conference in Springfield, department director Sara Parker Pauley announced the initiative that will take a coordinated, holistic approach to watershed management across the state.
“Our Missouri Waters initiative will modernize and streamline the way the department conducts watershed planning to better target our resources and provide a greater environmental benefit to the state of Missouri,” said Director Pauley. “This will help the department maintain consistency and provides a framework to measure results and provide accountability.”
Stakeholders, partnering agencies and the public will play a critical role throughout the initiative. The department has established a Watershed Advisory Committee that will provide their expertise and insight to the department as it works to develop, implement and evaluate this new approach. Working with these partners, the department will work to improve watershed planning, identify issues within watersheds and utilize tools that are best suited to address those watershed-specific issues.
“I applaud the department for taking this step to break down silos, which will lead to a more efficient, integrated and effective approach to preserving and protecting our precious water resources,” Gov. Jay Nixon said.
Citizen participation and cooperation is also crucial for successful watershed management. “Local citizen participation is key to the success of Our Missouri Waters initiative. When citizens better understand the issues within their watershed, they become more invested in the future of their community and together we can develop the most effective solution to benefit the state’s water resources for generations to come.” added Director Pauley.
The department selected three pilot watersheds to be included in the department’s first phase of the Our Missouri Waters initiative. The department evaluated all watersheds throughout the state and selected Spring River watershed, Big River watershed and the Lower Grand River watershed due to their diversity and opportunities. When selecting the three pilot watersheds, the department examined issues such as water quality, water quantity, high-quality waters for preservation and local stakeholder interest.
The department will begin implementing the pilot projects in early 2012 and will continue the planning process into 2013. These pilots will allow the department to analyze how well this watershed-based approach works and to make adjustments before implementing a statewide effort expected to be launched in 2013.