OREGON COUNTY -- River quality was on the mind of Scenic River Watershed members when the group met last month.
The group met in Eminence in Shannon County with Oregon County Presiding Commissioner Leo Warren giving opening comments and introduction of guest and special speakers.
Shannon County presiding Commissioner Tony Orchard served as host for the meeting. Jerri Davis, a hydrologist with the Water Resource Division of the U.S. Geological Survey at Rolla, gave a presentation on impaired water quality of the Jacks Fork River.
Chris Ward with Ozark National Scenic Riverways told those in attendance that the Jacks Fork was on the impaired river list or 303d list.
"Our primary concern is for the public's health and welfare. At this time there is no direct threat to the safety of human contact to the river. We also need to know what other natural life is being affected and we will continue to fund the monitoring and testing of water along that portion of the river," Ward said.
Carolyn Dyer, president of the Jacks Fork Watershed Group at Eminence, said the main goal of her group is to maintain the quality of the river and promote its use.
"A suggestion is to place signs on the river directing visitors to restrooms. On the back of the signs provide language that informs visitors of appropriate river etiquette," she said.
The main concern of people at the meeting was getting the Jacks Fork off the 303d list.
Dan Downing with University Extension said the 303d list is generated every two years, so once a river is on the list it takes two years to remove it.
Jim Smith, owner of Cross Country Trail Rides (CCTR) in Eminence, said he is actively pursuing methods to eliminate waste from the ground around the river. He said he has also received approval for a stone wall project He said he would build manure bunkers under a roof that will be contained in concrete. Smith said later he will build a manure barn. He said he also plans a horse wash with a tank used for the collection of horse waste.
"We have the most pristine waters in the world, not just in the state or country. Eminence has a good wastewater treatment plant. CCTR is addressing issues so far as horse crossings and contaminants. A suggestion for the park and the surrounding area is to direct horse rides away from the rivers," said Gary Gaines of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
Warren serves at the chairman of the group that meets four times a year in one of the seven counties involved in the partnership. The group was formed several years ago in an effort to protect and preserve the watersheds of the Jacks Fork, Current and Eleven Point rivers.
The next watershed meeting will be June 2 at Salem, Mo., at the Bank of Salem at 1 p.m.