Auf Wiedersehen; A Stream Team Farewell
As you might imagine, “Riggert” is a German surname; and indeed, if you were to look at my family tree, it has deep roots in Das Land der Dichter und Denker – “the country of poets and thinkers.” Unfortunately, my grasp of the German language leaves a lot to be desired, but my father is fluent and would always say Auf Wiedersehen. While loosely translating in English to “goodbye” he told me the more literal meaning is more along the lines of “until we meet again.”
What the heck does this lesson in German pertain to Stream Team!?!
Well, I was offered the opportunity to fill the position of Resource Management Training Coordinator within MDC which began October 16th. This is a new position and will allow me to build a comprehensive training program specific to the various forestry, fisheries, and wildlife disciplines for the agency.
It was harder to accept than I had anticipated. I’ve had the honor of working with the Stream Team Program, its amazing staff, and volunteers like yourselves for over two decades…one simply doesn’t walk away from this easily. That said, I feel it was the right decision and I am looking forward to really diving in once we work through this transition period. This also allowed us to look at how we were organized internally and redistribute workloads; this is also outlined in this issue. Long-term, we are still working through what things will look like, but I am confident whomever is chosen to succeed me as the Stream Team Program lead will do just that, succeed.
There is a part of me that wants to slip into nostalgia and wax poetically about the Stream Team Program, the staff and volunteers, and what I have seen you accomplish over my time with the Program. But realistically, I feel that is a bit self-aggrandizing and I’m not sure anyone would take the time to read it.
I will say I have had the pleasure of meeting thousands of passionate and dedicated individuals over these years. I have taught some of you in trainings; I have sweated side by side with some on stewardship projects across Missouri. I have camped with some, broken bread with some, met your families and watched children grow and become active Stream Team volunteers as adults. I still get chills hearing you refer to “your” stream and “your” watershed. I have the honor of calling several of you friends.
I firmly believe this is the BEST program, and it is individuals like yourselves who make it run. I want to thank you for all your hard work and dedication; working with the volunteers has always been a bright spot, and likely means more than you realize. Thank you for making my time with this program so incredibly rewarding.
So, I do not say goodbye, but rather I bid you Auf Wiedersehen. Or translated Stream Team style, see you on the river!
We’re Shaking Things Up!
By Amy Meier, editor
With the departures of coordinating Stream Team staff members Jenna Stiek (Southeast Region) and Chris Riggert (St. Louis Region) this year, who will be coordinating those regions now? And for how long?
Currently, Kat and myself are splitting the state down the middle with “east” and “west” responsibilities. We are excited to be working with volunteers in our newly acquired regions while still serving a portion of the regions that we have been familiar with for many years. As for how long, we anticipate for the foreseeable future, but when the Stream Team Coordinator position is filled (timing to be determined), we could be shaking things up… again! Your dedicated VWQM contacts will remain the same as always.
Stay tuned for more updates as they come and drop us an email or phone call if you need anything at all. While some projects may be postponed as we settle into our additional regional roles, we are dedicated to continuing to provide all Stream Team volunteers with the service you expect from the best stream stewardship program in the country!
Congratulations to Stream Team Assistant Brian Waldrop!
Last month, Saint Louis-area Stream Team Assistant Brian Waldrop was selected for the first annual MDC Engagement Team High Five Partner Award.
This award focuses on successful external partnerships, including successful teamwork, partnerships that are inclusive and diverse, and those that move conservation forward.
Due to Brian's outstanding collaboration efforts, Stream Teams in St. Louis played a vital role in the Mississippi River Plastic Pollution Initiative data collection and trash removal pilot project this spring. Under the leadership of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative, volunteers tested a new Marine Debris Tracker App developed by the University of Georgia, surveying over 40,000 m2 and logging more than 28,000 litter items across nearly 75 targeted areas in St. Louis. The participants in the St. Louis metro area blew away the competition in St. Paul, MN and Baton Rouge, LA to collect as much data as possible before the end of April 2021, thanks to Brian’s leadership and inspiration.
Great work, Brian, and the recognition is much deserved!
2020 Data Stars!
By Tabitha Gatts, DNR VWQM Coordinator
Congratulations to the 2020 VWQM Data Star award winners! We know last year was tough for folks to monitor as usual, but we want to celebrate those who were able to collect full submissions for their sites. These monitors completed at least two submissions of biological and discharge data as an introductory level volunteer, or two full data submissions of macros, discharge, water chemistry, and visual survey as a level 1-trained or higher! We are inspired by the data stars’ dedication to continue providing data on Missouri streams during a global pandemic. We also appreciate the high-quality, long-term data they have provided for streams throughout Missouri. So, once again, thank you and congratulations to the 2020 Data Stars!
Colton Hampton (Team 5642)
Kari Schwartz Pratt (Team 4565)
Level 1 and above-
Ross Braun (Team 4746)
Michael Chambers (Team 4907)
Sarah Davis-Stober (Team 5921)
Michael Engle (Team 4220)
Gene Hill (Team 5816)
Mark Kuechenmeister (Team 888)
Steve McCarthy (Team 5099)
Peggy Menke (Team 4933)
Rosemarie Mier (Team 3098)
Larry Ruff (Team 463)
Kerry Sturgis (Team 5330)
Susan Williams (Team 5744)
Since our last issue of Channels, Stream Team members reported:
Check out more highlights below . . .
Team 41 – 62 years later, this year on the Niangua River, the Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club is still going strong! This Kansas City-based family-friendly club picked up a couple tires, an empty plastic barrel, and two big bags of trash on their 3-day annual Labor Day weekend adventure.
Team 1875 + 5114 – What a year for Missouri River Relief and their 20th Anniversary Big Muddy Clean Sweep! 343 volunteers, 382 tires, 3.6 tons of scrap metal – all together a total of 23.6 TONS of trash! So many Stream Teams helped in this endeavor and it’s impossible to thank all of them individually here (THANK YOU ALL!), but this photo is courtesy of Rob Kalthoff, LaSaline Team 5114. Congrats River Relief for 20 years of good clean (trashy) fun!
Team 2608 – Fall monitoring continued on the Wyaconda River with Joe Coelho’s Quincy University Ecology class, a long tradition for nearly 20 years.
Team 4623 – Now this is a major invasive species removal project! Operation: Autumn Olive Eradication - by the Big Piney Stream Team Watershed Association. Invasive autumn olive is a big concern in the Big Piney watershed, and on this Team’s first workday, they removed 14 truckloads of it near Duke, MO in Pulaski County. Wow!
Team 5247 – Spring cleaning was a snap with the Pleasant Valley Panners!
Team 5645 – The 2020 Ambassador Award winners for stewardship keep plugging along, and no task is too big for this Team! “Watching 5 grown men tackle getting the huge tire out of water onto 2 canoes. We also saved a turtle that was hanging by a fishing line,” said Jeanette McGrath. Not to mention the three quarters of a TON of trash removed on this warm August day!
Team 6126 – The CoxHealth Streamkeepers are keeping an eye on South Creek in Springfield, pulling 17 bags of trash on a stormy summer day.
Team 6015 – Trash treasures abound on Hickory Creek near Neosho, MO. “I found part of a rusty old spur and a really cool old piece of white ceramic that was dated April 16, 1935, and marked Made in the USA. There were also some vintage beer cans from the 1970s. This particular stretch is always filled with lots of old "junk," said Kim Harper.
Thankful for Missouri Streams!
November is a month of giving thanks. As Missouri Stream Teams, we are thankful for the many miles of rivers and streams in our “Great Rivers State.” At Stream Teams United, we are thankful for the many Stream Team volunteers and Stream Team Associations who dedicate their time and energy to improving our state’s watersheds, rivers, streams, and lakes!
During the pandemic, many people have turned to the solitude, peace, and enjoyment offered by escaping to one of our state’s waterways. And with good reason: with rivers like the Current and Jacks Fork rivers, which were our country’s first designated National Scenic Riverways; the Eleven Point River, which was one of the first eight rivers originally chosen to be part of the U.S. National Wild and Scenic River System; the Missouri River, our nation’s longest river; and hundreds of other remarkable creeks, streams, and rivers flowing throughout our state.
On Sunday evening November 7, Stream Teams United is hosted a one-hour “Thankful for Missouri Streams” virtual event. While the pandemic has limited in-person gatherings, this was an opportunity for all Missouri Stream Teams and river enthusiasts to come together virtually and celebrate the rivers and people who we appreciate. If you were not able to join us during the live event, you can watch the recorded program on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXq65x18vTM.
Also, as a month for thanksgiving, we have an opportunity to give back to the Stream Team organizations around the state and to Stream Teams United, as the Coalition of Missouri’s Stream Team Associations. During the month of November, we are hosting opportunities to participate in a raffle or provide a donation to the Stream Team of your choice.
To view the recorded video, or find the donation and raffle opportunities, visit https://www.streamteamsunited.org/thankful-for-missouri-streams-virtual-event.html
Thanks for all you do for Missouri’s rivers and streams!
Auf Wiedersehen: A Stream Team Farewell
We're Shaking Things Up!
Congrats Brian Waldrop