February 2022

Message From
Executive Director,
Cathy Stepp
Valentine’s Day occurs every February 14 where candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and where did these traditions come from?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. Other stories suggest that an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. By the middle of the 18th century, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year!

As with Valentine's Day, celebrating and expressing our love; Take a look at our precious resource, Water is simply, love and it's time we think of water as a living being, an entity that lives life with you, for you, within and around you. Water surrounds us with love, expecting nothing from us, and the only thing it wants it's to see you thrive. Isn't that the highest expression of love? This year, share your love today and every day by helping us protect our most loved resource...WATER.

Share some LOVE and DONATE Today!
MaMa Jeans Shares the Love With H2Ozarks!
With sincere gratitude, we wanted to thank Mama Jean's Natural Market for their generous contribution to H2Ozarks/Ozarks Water Watch and commend them for their commitment to our environment. Did you know that Every year, across the globe, it is estimated that humans produce 300 million TONS of plastic waste and of that, 80% of that waste is single-use! 

Last year alone, MaMa Jean’s went through about 324,000 single-use plastic bags and almost 200,000 paper bags. With this information, they decided to adjust their single-use bag policy and made the switch to reusable bags and biodegradable bag options for a 10 cent donation to our non-profit organization. We wanted to thank Mama Jeans for considering H2Ozarks in their efforts and for also helping us have Cleaner Water Together! Read the Full Story HERE.
Making A Big Difference In The Ozarks...
A Lowell homeowner residing about a mile from Beaver Lake had a septic system that was more than 35 years old. The concrete tank had collapsed, which allowed sewage to surface on the ground in the yard near the home. Rainfall events and normal household water usage caused the pooling of sewage on the surface of the yard over the tank, and this overflow would runoff across the street toward Beaver Lake.  

This homeowner was eligible for both grant and loan funds through our Septic Remediation Program, so the design and installation expense of about $7,000 cost the homeowner just $700! 

Not all septic failures look the same – so if you are experiencing any of the following please contact us to discuss if our program can help you! 

  • Slow flushing toilets or slow drainage in sinks, showers, or bathtubs.
  • Backup of wastewater inside the home.
  • Pooling wastewater over any septic system components or drain field.
  • Sewage odor on the property, especially when coupled with a wet or soggy yard.
To learn more about our Septic Remediation Program Click HERE. You can also contact the Program Manager directly, or complete this FORM and we will contact you!   
Beaver Lake Needs Your Expertise...
Our friends and partners at The Beaver Watershed Alliance have commissioned a study to develop metrics for watershed management success. The team would like to invite you to attend the Alliance Quarterly Speaker Series, being held on Thursday, February 17th, from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm via zoom.

This series will give you a chance to learn more about the initiative and kick off 2022 with opportunities for your comments and input. The session will feature a panel of experts including Dr. Sarah E. Lewis, University of Arkansas, Arkansas Water Resources Center staff including Dr. Brian Haggard and Erin Grantz, and Alliance Executive Director, Becky Roark will present the draft and field questions.

Did you know that Beaver Lake supplies one in six Arkansans with clean drinking water? With over half a million people served, Beaver Lake also provides over $158 million in tourism and recreation dollars for the local economy. Taking the project to the next step the series is seeking input from landowners, water quality professionals, conservation groups, businesses, industry folks, higher education professionals, and government staff to participate, share feedback, and invest in watershed protection that will benefit the future of our entire region. The program is free, but registration is required. Click HERE to participate in the Alliance Quarterly Speaker Series: Beaver Lake Watershed Metrics Development.
Taney County Septic Pump-Out Program Is Back!
There’s good news for TaneyCounty septic system owners. The Taney County Septic Tank Pump Out Program is being made available for the 2022 calendar year. This is the eighth year the county has made the service available to qualifying Taney County property owners. 

The program pays 100% of the cost for pumping out a septic tank on a single-family residential property every four years. The homeowner is responsible for locating their septic tank and having the service access exposed for the hauling company.

The program is funded through the county’s Sewer Sales Tax. The program has pumped out 3,443 tanks since launching in 2014. For residents wishing to participate in the Taney County Septic Tank Pump Out Program, applications can be found on the County’s website, Applications can also be sent to residents by contacting Program Manager John Soutee at jsoutee@co.taney.mo.us or calling 417-546-7238.
One, Two, Three ----- D.O..!
StreamSmart citizen scientists will begin collecting dissolved oxygen (DO) data this month! With support from our partners, we purchased equipment for all teams to measure in-stream DO as part of our routine water-quality monitoring program.

Just as we need oxygen to survive, so do all the aquatic organisms you can find in our streams and rivers. Sometimes human activities can lead to reduced levels of DO, causing a stream to become impaired – some rivers in the Beaver Lake Watershed recently were put on the State’s 303(d) list of impaired waterbodies. By collecting DO, our volunteers can help keep an eye on changes in water quality across the Beaver Lake Watershed.

About StreamSmart: StreamSmart is a volunteer citizen-scientist program coordinated by H2Ozarks (formerly Ozarks Water Watch). This program began in 2012 and volunteers have collected over 4,000 chemistry results over this time. We currently monitor 14 sites throughout the Beaver Lake Watershed. For more information about StreamSmart, or how to become a volunteer citizen scientist, visit our WEBSITE.
Don't Flush It... What Do You Do?
When leftover or expired drugs are thrown in the trash, in the toilet, or down the drain, they end up in landfills, sewage systems, or wastewater treatment facilities that are not equipped to remove them. From there, they enter our waterways, where they threaten wildlife and the quality of our drinking water.

When stored in the home long term, they can fall into the wrong hands leading to drug abuse, misuse, or accidental poisonings and contributing to the prescription drug abuse epidemic. In fact, seven out of 10 people who abuse prescription drugs get them from friends and family, often from medicine cabinets.

Drug “take-back” programs that let people conveniently drop off unused drugs for safe disposal are a key strategy to help prevent these problems. See below for resources on how to dispose of your old meds in Missouri and materials to help promote drug take-back programs. Map and more information HERE.
Major Contributors To Our Water Contamination...
Nonpoint source pollution (NPS) happens when water from rainfall, snowmelt, or irrigation runs over land or through the ground and picks up pollutants and deposits them into rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands, or groundwater. Nonpoint source pollution is the greatest threat to our state’s waters. NPS was responsible for 87% of rivers and streams and 59% of lakes on Missouri’s 303(d) list of impaired waters.

Failing septic systems are one of the major contributors to E.coli bacteria contamination and excessive nutrient loading into the Upper White River Basin. H2Ozarks strives to improve the water quality of the Upper White River Basin by reducing the introduction of waste byproducts from entering the ground and surface waters from failing septic systems. Learn more about how we are making a difference or if you need help with your septic system by clicking HERE.
The H2Ozarks Team
David Casaletto
Cathy Stepp
Executive Director
Carin Love
Internal Operations Manager
Eric Simon
Communications Manager
Erin Scott
Senior Policy and Program Director
Mona Menezes
Missouri Program Director
Shelly Dare Smith
Arkansas Program Manager