That’s a lot of ‘W’s! This week, seeing as it is Water Watch Week, I thought it appropriate to call your attention to our water and all of the watershed groups that keep it so clean. We have come a long way over the years, with the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks setting a trend in 1984 which many other organizations have followed. As we look forward to next year, The Watershed Committee is so excited to celebrate its 30th anniversary! Even as we celebrate our own successes, it is easy to recognize a job well done throughout our region’s watersheds. Missouri Stream Team, a state-wide organization, celebrates its 25th birthday next year, with piles of data collected by volunteers in every county in the state! James River Basin Partnership set the tone for Water Watch Week with its 2nd downtown Dam Jam which was a massive success and a great excuse for all of the water watchers to get together and cut loose. Table Rock Water Quality, Inc. had another successful Shoreline Cleanup this past spring and continue to contribute to the improving quality of the lake. Ozarks Water Watch along with the City of Branson and the Ozarks River Heritage Foundation hosted a wonderful tour of Table Rock Lake, the wastewater treatment plant, and Lake Taneycomo on Monday after which all of us water groups got to talk about what we have been up to.

We all had a chance to relish in the fact that the quality of our lakes and streams is improving. A few weeks ago, this story appeared in the news and declared Table Rock Lake, “Clearest in 30 Years.” There are some great pictures from the News-Leader as well. All of us; non-profit organizations, state and city agencies, and citizens, should be proud of how far we have come. In the early 1980’s, the algae bloom in Fellows Lake was such that it was problematic for drinking water. In response to the problem, the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks was established. In 1999, the James River Arm of Table Rock Lake was so severely clouded by algae that a boat driving though it would leave a trail behind. In the Spring of 2013, photos began surfacing of scuba divers a few yards underwater and clearly visible from the surface. Our water is getting cleaner. As people continue to learn about non-point source pollution, and as groups like the Watershed Committee continue to work with state and local agencies to manage our water resources, our water will get cleaner. Take some time this week to enjoy our water. Spend a moment on the banks of the James River. Come sit with your feet in the South Dry Sac River, or catch a fish from Valley Water Mill Lake. Take a jog along Jordan Creek through Silver Springs Park. Take some vacation time and get on the water for a day on one of our famous Ozark Float Trips. Enjoy our wonderful, clear, and cool water and let us reflect on the good that has been done, and the lessons we have learned. Thanks

Rob Hunt, Watershed Center Coordinator

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