Our Missouri Waters
Our Missouri waters are as diverse as the varied landscapes they flow through. Missouri is blessed with natural diversity like no other state in the nation. Missouri’s flowing waterways and lakes are important to our quality of life in Missouri and play an essential role in the state’s overall health and economic well-being.
We have made significant improvements to our state’s water quality. We protect Missouri’s water resources by permitting and inspecting potential sources of pollution, at facilities throughout the state. Future improvements will require a new approach – one that looks at the whole watershed and all the potential sources of water pollution.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has begun an initiative to create a coordinated, holistic approach to protect water resources and preserve our Missouri waters. We’ve named this innovative statewide watershed approach Our Missouri Waters because water, like all of our natural resources, belongs to all of us. We all need to understand and protect our waters to ensure a positive future, and the department needs the help of citizens, landowners, communities, industries and local leaders for this effort to be successful.
We have a range of resources to help manage and preserve Missouri’s great watersheds, such as providing cost-share programs to farmers to support good soil and water conservation practices and providing financial assistance to communities and cities.
One of the keys to this approach will be managing our water resources at the local watershed level – where specific water resource management needs are best addressed. The watershed-based approach will also allow a common understanding of the roles, priorities and responsibilities of all partners and citizens within a watershed. With the diverse hydrologic and multi-water-related resources to manage, it makes sense to be able to tailor our activities to the unique challenges and opportunities specific to each watershed.
By coordinating the efforts of all the agencies and individuals who have an interest in the watershed, we can focus our staff and financial resources on priorities and on solving water resource problems.
The process may appear complex but the overarching goals are quite simple – streamline the department’s watershed planning efforts while increasing public engagement and improve targeting of resources to increase the benefits to Our Missouri Waters. Read more in the Our Missouri Waters brochure.
Watershed Advisory Committee
To help with the Our Missouri Waters initiative, the department established an external Watershed Advisory Committee. The committee will help advise the department on Our Missouri Waters strategic direction and priorities and assist in program development by sharing external expertise and insight during the development, implementation and evaluation of Our Missouri Waters.
The Department of Natural Resources selected three watersheds to focus on in the first phase of the Our Missouri Waters initiative. The department evaluated all 66 watersheds throughout the state and selected the Spring River, Big River and the Lower Grand River watersheds, due to the diversity and opportunities within these watersheds. When selecting the watersheds, the department examined concerns such as water quality, water quantity, high-quality waters for preservation and local stakeholder interest.
The department will analyze the outcomes of a watershed-based approach and make adjustments before implementing a statewide effort. To learn more, select a watershed listed below for more information on how each of these watersheds are working to protect and improve Missouri water resources. Learn more about watersheds in Missouri.
- Big River Watershed - located in east-central Missouri and discharges into the Meramec River basin.
- Lower Grand River Watershed - located in north-central Missouri.
- Spring River Watershed - located in southwest Missouri.