Shoal Creek Consortium core partners Land Learning Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Midwest Waters Initiative, Riverlaw.Org, and Missouri Stream Teams United, are working to restore and conserve aquatic habitat and water quality – alongside farmers, ranchers, teachers, businesses, local leaders, and other community members.
The confluence of Hickory Creek and Shoal Creek north of Neosho, Missouri, is our cornerstone site – uniquely situated in an important area of the watershed where conservation will benefit both people and nature.
Initiative partners with expertise in farm management, biology and stream ecology, riparian engineering (morphology and bioengineering), and riverine and wetland restoration, are working with local partners to plan and build features that stop erosion, reduce nutrient run-off, restore habitat, and protect water quality.
Community members are invited to participate in conservation planning and in monitoring results, including citizen-based water quality testing. The site will host outdoor education opportunities for community members and local schools, and on-site stations for researchers studying riverine habitat and stream ecology.
Consortium partners will make the consortium site available as needed to Neosho National Fish Hatchery staff as they assess stream conditions and habitat for native mussel species, including threatened and endangered species. The Consortium also looks forward to working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service Partners Program in Missouri as they work to restore riparian and upland resources in the Upper Shoal Creek Sub-Watershed.
The confluence site work, and additional riparian restoration in the Upper Shoal Sub-Watershed, is made possible by a grant from The Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the US Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, as Joint Trustees for natural resources in Missouri through a CERCLA Natural Resources Restoration Grant.
Additional funding support for confluence restoration, and riparian restoration further downstream on Shoal Creek, is being provided by US Environmental Protection Agency through a Clean Water Act Section 319(h) Grant.
A National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant is providing further support aimed specifically at engaging Missouri Stream Teams United and their local affiliates in the Confluence Site work.
The Conservation Federation of Missouri is also providing assistance for building a research and education platform through a David Risberg Memorial Grant.
Consortium partners will work with stream morphology engineers and aquatic ecosystem biologists in 2022 to prepare a restoration design that integrates natural elements where possible. We will plant native grasses and trees to stabilize the streambank and reestablish habitat. We will also restore natural hydrology and reestablish wetland areas. The plan will be presented to the Little Rock District of the US Army Corps of Engineers for approval under the Clean Water Act so that in-stream work can begin in 2023.
As restoration planning proceeds, research platforms and passive educational features will be integrated at the site to facilitate future research and public inquiry. The Consortium will work with volunteers from local Missouri Stream Teams and the teachers and students of Neosho High School to help design educational elements, plant native trees, and help to monitor and manage the site.
Regular water quality monitoring for ecological parameters* will be done with experts working alongside local community members using established volunteer water quality monitoring protocols through an initiative supported by the Missouri Stream Team Program, which is is a partnership among the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Conservation, and the Conservation Federation of Missouri.