After attending my first Department of Natural Resources' public meeting regarding stream use in our state, I now join the many frustrated, concerned citizens dealing with the DNR. While I support my friends' and neighbors' concerns for their local streams, I do think our arguments, usually turning into a spirited debate, are being channeled to the wrong people.
During last Thursday's DNR meeting, I kept hearing DNR responses prefaced with " . . . by state law . . . ", ". . . according to state law . . .", ". . . according to state statute . . . " and " . . . regulation states . . . " So, who makes and can amend these laws? Our government. Our efforts to preserve our streams need to be directed to our elected officials at all levels - city, county, state and federal. Our elected officials do have the ability to change the current laws and regulations, which could give the DNR the right tools they need to go out and do their job - that of protecting all of our water in all situations.
Especially during this eelction, contact your candidates. Force them to explain what they will do once elected regarding water/stream preservation. And warn them, after elected, they will be held accountable and that we want to see changes. Then, remember the candidate's response to this very important issue when you vote in November.
For me, our Missouri creeks, streams, rivers and lakes are very special. Sadley, in recent years I am seeing these beautiful, clear bodies of water deteriorate. I was raised near Flat Creek in Barry County. Two years ago, I went to "Big Flat" near McDowell and was heartbroken to find the water dingy and slimy rocks on the creek bottom.
For now, I can go to "Little Flat Creek" that feeds into Big Flat at McDowell, and it is still the pristine, sparkling water it has always been. However, DNR currently has it under consideration to withdraw restrictions. DNR needs to hear from you if we are to keep Little Flat Creek the beautiful place we all love to enjoy.
And our elected officials need to hear from us as well. we must speak up if we want to continue to enjoy our creeks, streams, rivers and lakes - otherwise, you may find what I did two years ago, dingy water and slimy rocks.
Concha N. Marbut