Chert Glades Stream Team # 5692.   

Everything done to the land affects the quality of the water in your watershed. Streams and rivers provide vital habitat and a source of fresh water for fish, wildlife and humans. Humans can harm water condition but we can also play a part in restoring habitat and water quality. One way we can protect a stream is by monitoring its health.

 Ben's Branch Stream

Ben's Branch Stream

Our Chapter’s stream team recently adopted Ben’s Branch stream located within the Cardinal Valley Natural Habitat Restoration Project (from now on referred to as Cardinal Valley), in Webb City, Missouri. Ben’s Branch stream is a second order intermittent stream. It joins Center Creek, a fifth order stream within the Spring River Watershed Basin. This watershed area is within the Oronogo-Duenweg Mining Belt, abandoned and left contaminated by tons of mining waste, left in uncovered piles. Runoff from these piles has entered groundwater and surface streams, contaminating them with lead, zinc and cadmium. Over the last few years, the Environmental Protection Agency, Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Webb City, teamed up to clean, reclaim, and return the land to a more natural habitat. Northwestern sections of the restoration area include a wetland area near Center Creek that will help remove zinc and other heavy metals from the effluent water leaving the Center Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant and then running into Center Creek.

Cardinal Valley Natural Habitat Restoration Project: http://webbcitymo.org/department/detail/cardinal-valleywetlands-restoration-project

Our Chapter’s On Location Projects:

  • Chert Glades Master Naturalist actively monitor the health of Ben’s Branch stream as part of the Missouri Stream Team Program.  We perform biological, physical and chemical monitoring. Physical and chemical aspects of water are frequently used to assess the health of a stream or determine the degree of pollution at the time a sample is collected. In order to track water quality over a period of time, we also conduct biological monitoring, looking for living things such as stoneflies, dragonflies, mayflies, water beetles, and many other organisms that show sensitivity or tolerance to pollution. Click this link to review our testing results and meet some of our volunteers: https://sites.google.com/site/bensbranchwaterqualitytesting/home

  • We also conduct year round bird counts and record on The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website, ebird.org.  Link to 139 recorded species list:  https://ebird.org/hotspot/L4196645

  • Our chapter volunteers built and installed 20 bluebird houses to provide safe secure locations to raise bluebird broods.  The open wetlands lack natural nesting cavities needed for successful nesting, making proper birdhouses even more critical.  Nesting results are studied and recorded with Nestwatch.org.

  • Recently 200 swamp milkweed bareroot plants were installed at the wetlands, in efforts to provide increased population of Monarch host plants and nectar for Monarchs and many other pollinators.  

  • February 2019 our volunteers will plant a variety soil erosion and pollinator friendly shrubs along Ben’s Branch Stream; 150 shrubs will be installed there and 50 will be planted at the wetland.

    We thank the Missouri Department of Conservation State Nursery for the hundreds of free milkweed and other trees and shrubs given to us for our habitat reconstruction projects!

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Studying

Studying best practices at other locations, before we built the Bluebird houses.

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A bat house

Two were built, now looking for the best locale to hang them.

 Done! Now let’s hang them up.

Done! Now let’s hang them up.

 1 of many installed.  This year was location testing.

1 of many installed. This year was location testing.

 A handful of Monarch’s stopped by Cardinal Valley Wetlands. They were looking for nectar for energy and a place to lay their eggs. So we planted milkweed.

A handful of Monarch’s stopped by Cardinal Valley Wetlands. They were looking for nectar for energy and a place to lay their eggs. So we planted milkweed.

 The swamp milkweed is now in the ground.  Visit next summer to hopefully view its beauty.

The swamp milkweed is now in the ground. Visit next summer to hopefully view its beauty.

 Bald Eagle recently returned to the Cardinal Valley Wetlands

Bald Eagle recently returned to the Cardinal Valley Wetlands