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Ozark Waters 
Volume XIV, Issue 14
  April 5, 2020
In This Issue




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Faith and Environment: Coming Together

Janice Greene, Director, Bull Shoals Field Station, Missouri State  
(Note: After I heard about EarthKeepers at the United Methodist Church, I asked my friend, Janice Greene, to write a guest article for the newsletter. Enjoy! David Casaletto) 
Protecting our water, air, plants and animals should be something everyone does for our health and enjoyment.  One thing I have tried to get across to every class or workshop I've taught is that everyone can do something, and if everyone did, it would add up and have a tremendous effect on the world.
Linda Chorice, a former work colleague, and I have joined forces to inspire and teach others to get involved in caring for creation. Linda spent her 34-year career teaching about the importance of conserving forests, fish, and wildlife resources through her work with the Missouri Department of Conservation. I spent over 30 years, mostly at the university level, working with teachers, future teachers, and Biology students covering topics including water, birds, forests, and wildlife management.
We have always thought that faith communities should be the leader in care for the planet. As members of this community, we have wondered why people of faith have not been more involved in doing something for the Earth, so when we heard about an opportunity to attend a training with the United Methodist Church, called EarthKeepers, we wanted to get involved. In September 2019, Linda and I attended one of the training sessions in Austin, Texas.
  Alternatives to plastic. 
As part of the EarthKeepers training, each of us were to design a project at our home church. My (Janice) project was a two-part project. The first was to establish a Creation Care or Green Team at the church; the second was to reduce food waste and other solid waste at the church and at homes.  
There has been good interest from members. So far, we have discussed food waste, reducing the environmental effects of food (buying local, etc.), learned about composting, and alternatives for single use plastics. Several have bought composting containers and are working to reduce single-use plastics in their homes. Now that spring is here, we are starting to talk about native plants and pollinators. As part of a grant from the EarthKeepers project, we are ordering recycling stations and composting bins for the church, and more projects are to come.
  Wasted fruit and vegetables in a dumpster, discarded uneaten.
Linda's main project at her home church is organizing a community compost bin with funding made possible through a grant from EarthKeepers. Members of the church, as well as neighbors, are encouraged to drop off food scraps which are picked up weekly and transformed into rich compost. Within the first month of operation, nearly 300 pounds of food scraps were collected and diverted from the city landfill. Food waste is a huge issue and approximately 12.1% of all landfill waste consists of easily compostable food items. Other projects include developing a Green Team and implementing many sustainable practices.
  Linda's project sign 
There is a strong biblical basis for protection of the environment. One example from the Bible says, "The Earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it." (Psalm 24:1 NRSV). There are many examples of care for the world and for not wasting our resources. For example, "When the people had eaten their fill, Jesus said to his disciples, Gather the leftovers so nothing is wasted." (John 6:12 MSG, my emphasis).  In addition, we became more familiar with the foundational teachings of the United Methodist Church which promotes the care of the Earth, along with the care of people. John Wesley, founder of the Methodist denomination, included caring for creation in his manifesto in the 17th century. Many Christian denominations and faiths have care of the Earth as part of their faith's doctrine (See resources at the end.)
This opportunity has helped us to realize that there is a concern among many individuals of faith, but they just don't have the support necessary to realize that they can do something for the Earth. Some just need information about what to do. Others need inspiration. So many times, the environmental movement has focused on the "doom and gloom" which can actually defeat people and keep them from getting involved. For example, "why should I recycle or compost?  It won't make a difference in the grand scheme of life."  But it will make a difference if everyone does something! I have told many of my Missouri State classes that if each individual on campus just recycled one can, that is over 20,000 cans that would stay out of the landfill. Our efforts add up! Together we can make a difference.

Quote of the Week    
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

~ Margaret Mead
Snapped fishing pole starts off paddlefish season, but doesn't deter Springfield angler
Springfield News-Leader 
March 17, 2020

With coronavirus swirling about, paddlefish angler Galen Martin of Springfield knows where he wants to be. "I will self-quarantine myself on the river any day of the week," he said. On opening day of Missouri's paddlefish snagging season Galen took his Ascend kayak and snagging fishing pole to the James River, below the dam at Lake Springfield. He said the water was running fast and high, so he tied his kayak off to a tree and began casting a treble hook into the turbid, roiling water.

"I hooked up one right away, fought it for a couple of minutes, but lost it," Martin said. "I moved to a second spot and hooked another one. With the current it took me about 40 minutes to get it in." He pulled the slippery fish, about a 50-pounder, into his kayak and paddled across the river to tie the fish off on a walkway railing that was partially submerged. He cut the fish's gills so it would bleed out and make the meat tastier. "I went back out, tied up to a tree and hooked into an even bigger one, and that's when I heard the rod crack," he said. "The whole rod broke where it joins together. Luckily, the fish turned and swam all the way upstream to my kayak. I got prepared, though, in case it tried to run and pull me into the water." Despite a busted rod, Martin was still able to crank his spinning reel loaded with 30-pound test line. "It took about 15 minutes, but I got it in." he said.
To read more, click: HERE 
There's too much nitrogen and phosphorus in U.S. waterways

April 1, 2020
Even minor amounts of human activity can increase nutrient concentrations in fresh waters that can damage the environment, according to a new study. These findings suggest most U.S. streams and rivers have higher levels of nitrogen and phosphorus than is recommended. Although nutrients are a natural part of aquatic ecosystems like streams and rivers, too much of either nutrient can have lasting impacts on the environment and public health.

In Florida, toxic blue-green algal blooms have been triggered by releases of phosphorus-laden waters from Lake Okeechobee. Algal blooms produce a foul odor along waterways, decrease dissolved oxygen, threaten insect and fish communities and can even produce toxins that are harmful to mammals and humans. 
To read more, click: HERE 
EPA encourages Americans to only flush toilet paper
The Bradford Era  
March 31, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging all Americans to only flush toilet paper, not disinfecting wipes or other non-flushable items that should be disposed of in the trash. Flushing only toilet paper helps ensure that the toilets, plumbing, sewer systems and septic systems will continue working properly to safely manage our nation's wastewater. While EPA encourages disinfecting your environment to prevent the spread of COVID-19, never flush disinfecting wipes or other non-flushable items. These easy steps will keep surfaces disinfected and wastewater management systems working for all Americans.

Preventable toilet and sewer backups can pose a threat to human health and present an extra challenge to our water utilities and their workforce. Flushing anything other than toilet paper, including disinfecting wipes, can damage internal plumbing, local sewer systems and septic systems. Fixing these backups is costly and takes time and resources away from ensuring that wastewater management systems are otherwise working properly. Having fully operational wastewater services is critical to containing COVID-19 and protecting Americans from other public health risks. 
To read more, Click: HERE 

Contact Info
OZARKS WATER WATCH                          MISSOURI OFFICE                                 ARKANSAS OFFICE

David Casaletto, President

Cathy Stepp, Executive Director                  PO Box 636, 11 Oak Drive                       1200 W. Walnut, Ste. 3405 

(417) 739-4100                                          Kimberling City, MO  65686                      Rogers, AR  72756