I am on my way to present at the 2009 Missouri Natural Resources Conference. I will be discussing the Value of protecting our regional streams and rivers. We have teamed with Olsson and Associates to validate, with monetary value, the messages we have all been trying to sound forth. That message being to protect, conserve, sustain, improve, and restore the Ozarks treasure found in our abunant streams. You might be surprised at the value or cost associated with protecting or not protecting these vital resources, I was. I have provided below some quick facts and figures to get your attention and help answer the question put before you in the title. If you want to delve further into the research click on this link: https://watershedcommittee.org//wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/the-value-of-protecting-ozarkdated-10-8-08_reduced-file.pdf for a full copy of the paper. A copy of the power point presentation will also be made available after the conference. As you read the paper or skim through the fast facts, ask yourself these questions: 1) Is it worth the effort to protect or restore Ozarks streams? 2) Can we afford it? 3) Can we afford NOT to? 4) Whose problem is it? 5) What can I do to help?

After you read the paper, write or e-mail with any comments or questions, I would be interested to hear your perspective.

Fast Facts and Figures:

> In 2008, a local restoration project was completed resulting in 1,289 ft. of stream to be protected and enhanced. The total cost was $347,000 or $269 per linear ft. This restoration will prevent 93 lbs. of phosphorus from entering the James River annually at a cost of $188/lb.

> At Springfield’s Southwest Treatment Plant, upgrades were completed in 2001 resulting in a reduction of 740 lbs./day of phosphorus entering the James River. Total construction cost for upgrades were approximately 2.2 million. Over the life of this upgrade (50 yrs.) the plant will be able to keep phosphorus from entering the stream at a value of $4.60/lb.

> Urban lawns can contribute as much as 2.3mg/L of phosphorus to streams.

>  Best Management Practices (bio-swales, grass filter strips, wetland detention ponds, dry detention etc…) can range in cost from as litte as $3 per cubic foot of stormwater treated to as high as $360/cubic ft. On average, that equates to $466 to $1,535/lb. of phosphorus removed. This doesn’t factor in the other pollutant removal capabilities of BMP’s.

> National data on stream restoration cost range from $42 to $1,000 per linear foot. Local projects in the Ozarks have cost $260 to $350 per linear foot.

> Tourism directly associated with lakes, streams, and rivers in the Ozarks accounts for $billions/yr. This stimulates and keeps vibrant a local economy linked directly to the neccessity of clean water resources.